Friday, September 13, 2019

Charles Fang, Actor

Charlie Fang was born on August 10, 1882, in San Francisco, California, according to his World War II draft card. The same birth date was on his World War I draft card. Information about his childhood and education has not been found.

Some news reports claim Fang was born in Canton, China. The Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), February 18, 1917, published the following.
This Chinaman Actor Was Sailor.
In a very brief period, Charles Fang, the Chinese actor who plays the part of Wee See in Metro’s serial, “The Great Secret,” in which Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne are co-stars, has become recognized as one of the best exponents of real Chinese characters on the American stage.

Fang became an actor by accident. He was born in Canton, China, and comes of a well-to-do Chinese family. He was taken to San Francisco when a child and remained there until he was shipped aboard the Olympia, Admiral Dewey’s flagship. It was while on this warship that Fang’s talent was discovered.
Fang said he served during the Spanish-American War. In the Boston Post (Massachusetts), March 11, 1917, Fang elaborated on a recipe for Dewey.
When I was attached to the personal staff of the late Admiral Dewey on board the Olympia, he one time asked me to make him a real Chinese dish, one that would suit his boiled dinner tastes. I did, and he told me it pleased him very much. He asked me what I called it, and I told him the Chinese name for it was Yat Ko Main. Here it is—an inexpensive dish:

To one quart of boiling beef stock add two sliced onions, a small bunch of diced celery and a quarter of a pound of finely minced ham. Boil a quarter of a pound of noodles in clear water for 10 minutes; drain and soak in cold water. When the soup is done, add a tablespoonful of “soye” and the noodles. Boil up once and serve.
Another Fang and Dewey story appeared in the Canton Repository (Ohio), June 26, 1917.
Patriotic Chinese
In Metro’s coming picture there is a Chinaman who was born and raised in the United States and who was on Admiral Dewey’s flagship, the U.S.S. Olympia, when it sailed into the harbor of Manilla in 1898. His name is Charles Fang. “I am thirty-six years old,” said Mr. Fang, “but I am ready to go, I care not whether it be in the army or the navy. I was in the navy four years. At Manilla in 1898 I was steward in the wardroom of the Olympia, and afterwards I served through the campaign against the Moros in the Philippine islands. My parents were Chinese, but I was born in San Francisco. I have an honorable discharge from the navy and I expect that I can get in, even if I am older that I was when I first fought for the stars and stripes.”
As far as I can tell, Fang never said when or how he traveled east to New York City.

The 1901 and 192 Orange, New Jersey city directories list a laundryman named Charles Fang at 215 Washington. The 1910 U.S. Federal Census has a Charles Fong in East Orange, New Jersey. He was a laundryman born in California, however, his age at 37 puts his birth year at 1873.

So far the earliest newspaper mention of Fang was in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), June 25, 1916.
Chinese Objects to Queue
Charles Fang, an Americanized Chinese, who plays a character part in “The Quitter,” in which Lionel Barrymore is starred, objected to wearing a queue until he was told that he could not be used otherwise. He then consented to putting on the pig-tail wig, but took it off the moment he was not working before the camera.
Fang’s first film to be released was “Broken Fetters” on July 3, 1916. “Broken Fetters” was reviewed in Moving Picture World, July 1, 1916.


The Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota), July 25, 1916, published the following.
“Broken Fetters” at Met.
“Broken Fetters,” which was shown at the Metropolitan theater last light, is an exceptionally entertaining, elaborate and thrilling photoplay that will prove one of the strongest foundations for Bluebird films for some times. The story carries the Oriental atmosphere through until the end, with just a smattering of the white slave traffic to make it interesting. It is the story of a young American girl who was adopted by a Chinese merchant. Later she is brought to this country, where she is kept prisoner in one of the darkest holes in Chinatown. A young artist secures here for a model. The artist falls in love with her and attempts to free her. By this time the Chinaman who is holding her prisoner falls in love with her. He tries to force his attentions upon her, and a lively tussle occurs. Finally he is killed and the girl is taken by the artist to his own home.

The sets and staging are wonderfully realistic. The acting, too, is most worthy. As the innocent little girl, brought up in Chinese surroundings, Violet Mersereau portrayed a character that is unusually artistic. Especial mention must also he given Frank Smith and Charles Fang for their fine characterizations.

The story is replete with thrills and the action never lags.
Art by Burton Rice

Fang’s second film, “The Quitter”, was released July 10, 1916.

Around this time there was another Charles Fang who worked on at least one film. The New Orleans States (Louisiana), August 27, 1916, printed this item.
Fang’s Oriental Music for “The Yellow Menace’
One of the special features in connection with “The Yellow Menace” serial is a complete musical score which has been composed by Charles Fang, native of Canton, China, and a graduate of Yale University.

Mr. Fang spent many weeks in the studios where the picture was being filmed, studying the Oriental setting, and while the score is typically Mongolian, it us, at the same time, popular in character.
Fang’s next film, “In the Diplomatic Service”, was released October 16, 1916. The San Jose Evening News (California), November 29, 1916, said “… and Charles Fang. Fang is a Chinese comedian, and was recently styled by New York critics ‘the Chinese Charlie Chaplin.’”

More praise for Fang was in the New Orleans States (Louisiana), December 3, 1916, “Charles Fang, who often appears on the screen with Francis X. Bushman in Metro-Quality productions, is a Chinaman. He is an excellent actor.”

More publicity for Fang was found in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), February 18, 1917.
Charles Fang had the spotlight unexpectedly thrown on him recently when he attended a picture show and held a coupon that entitled him to a prize, to be presented on stage.

Charles Fang will be remembered as the Chinaman who is walking away with the acting honors in “The Great Secret” serial.
The Great Secret” was Fang’s fourth film.

Fang wrote a lengthy piece on Chinese food for the Boston Post, March 11, 1917.

During World War I Fang encouraged other Chinese to contribute either by enlisting and through funding.

Fang’s visit to New York Chinatown was covered in the New York Tribune, June 18, 1917.
“No Want ’List Melican Army,” Chinatown Tells Dewey’s Ex-Cook
Charlie Fang, Now Movie Actor, Stumps for Recruits, but Verdict Is: Charlie Chappel Better Charlie Fang”—Fifty-four Celestials Subscribe to Red Cross Fund
Charlie Fang, the Chinese motion picture actor and former cook for Admiral Dewey on the flagship Olympia, came down to Chinatown yesterday to recruit Celestials of conscription age for the service on the West front in France. His talk in Chinese and English fell upon several hundred mute ears, and what Pell and Doyers and Mott streets think of Charlie and his idea could be expressed with safety only in Cantonese.

The place selected by Charlie for the campaign was not in the highways and byways, but in the five-sent motion picture house of Sam Kutinsky, at Chatham Square, where the screen was displaying Fang himself throughout the day in a Metro film with Francis X. Bushman.

Ah Suey, a salesman of Won Soy Wong, of Newark happened to be in Mott street with his six-cylinder Studebaker, and took his family to their the illustrious Mr. Fang. He listened until his countryman had finished his appeal and them walked out, grunting and smiling.

“Charlie Chappel Better”

As he emerged into Chatham Square again he bumped into Charlie Boston, the well known beacon light of the customs inspectors whenever Ed Norwood sends them up from the Barge Office on an opium raid.

“Hello, Suey,” exclaimed Boston. “You ready list army? What you think Charlie Fang>”

“I don’t like Chinaman actor with Melican picture. Wu Ting Fang bester actor. Charlie Chappel better Charlie Fang.”

Presently Won-on Kee and High Fook, of Pell Street, came out, but merely grinned when the trained ferret of the customs raiders asked their opinion of the man who made the show for Dewey at Manilla Bay.

Mr. Boston, remarking that he would give the San Francisco recruit-teeter the once-over, passed Sam Kutinsky the high sign and walked in. Ten minutes later he came out, and with the philosophy of a Chen Yen Wing explained how Chinatown felt in response to the appeal of Mr. Fang, of ’Frisco.

Calls Recruiter Funny

“You see,” volunteered Boston, “Chinamen funny people to ’Mericans. They don’t like see Chinaman play Chinaman with ’Merican company. You unstan that why only few Chinaman give damn what Charlie Fang talk about. Chinaman sees ’Merican play Chinaman in movie picture and laugh cause ’Merican very funny.”

Mr. Boston then threw out his chest and, pointing proudly to a Liberty Bond button, continued, “Charlie Fang, he nearly forty years old. He don’t have to go to war. Chinamen like hear fella what go war himself. You unastan? Bushwa.’

It was quite a different story when Charlie Fang himself came out of Sam Kutinsky’s. He is about five feet tall, was nattily dressed, and wore large spectacles with broad amber rims.

“We should have American-born Chinamen at the French front,” he said in excellent English. “I served through the fight at Manila, and when my next picture is done I’m through with the movies. I will enlist again in the navy as a chief cook or steward if the government will take me. I went into service in 1896 in San Francisco, where I was born. I was Admiral Dewey’s boy, and was just behind him on the bridge of the Olympia when he went into Manila Bay. I stayed in the service in th Philippines and got my honorable discharge in 1900, and I ask no Chinaman to do more that I an going to do myself.

“Those to old to enlist can subscribe to the Red Cross and—” “Red Cross right,” interrupted Mr. Boston. “You come now to dinner with me at Port Arthur and I show you there fifty good Chinamen give you money for Red Cross. You went [sic] men list army, you call up Barge Office, tell Walter Murphy, Ike Harris, Ed Norwood, Frank Zorga. They scare very Chinaman, make him go in army.”

Charlie Boston made good his promise later and Charlie Fang at the Port Arthur for fifty-four subscriptions as a starter for Chinese contributions to the Red Cross.
The Bismarck Daily Tribune (North Dakota), September 20, 1917, noted Fang’s appearance in “The Slacker”.
“The Slacker,” Metro’s great special patriotic production de luxe, in which the gifted star, Emily Stevens appears, has been given a cast of unusual distinction by its author-director William Christy Cabanne.

… Well known Metro favorites make up the larger part of the cast. Among these are … and the ever-popular Chinese actor, Charles Fang. …
According to Motography, September 22, 1917, Fang was associated with a new company.
Chinese Comedian Featured
Charlie Fang, the Chinese comedian, is being featured by George W. Shepard, president of the Screen Craft Company. Fang possesses a blank countenance that is irresistible as a mirth provoker. Fang’s first release under the banner of the Screen Craft Company, which was recently done under the direction of Robert B. Carson, and another one-reel feature of Charlie Fang, which is American for Hung Loo, is now completed. The title is “Fang’s Fate and Fortune.”
Fang was on the move again as reported in Dramatic Mirror of Motion Pictures and the Stage, March 30, 1918.
Will Direct for Scrantonia Corp.
C.R. De Barge, Vice-President, to Supervise Production of Features
The Scrantonia Photoplay Corporation which has announced for immediate release, six one-reel comedies featuring Charlie Fang, the inimitable Chinese comedian, have already expanded operations and will immediately commence the producing of six and seven-reel photo plays, to be released by way of the state right market through Jesse J. Goldberg.
Advertisement appeared in Moving Picture World,
March 30, 1918 and Chinese in Hollywood (2013)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), March 31, 1918, also reported Fang’s new employer.
Film Now Boasts Chinese Comedian
The Scrantonia Photoplay Corporation, producers of one-reel comedies, have completed the first six productions which are now offered to State right buyers through Jesse J. Goldberg, sales and exploitation representative of that company. The six comedies were produced at the studios of the Scrantonia Photoplay Corporation at Scranton, Pa. and are entitled: “The Chinese Musketeer,” “Feet and Defeat,” “Cheerful Liars,” “Fate and Fortune,” “Parson Pepp,” “The Ring and the Ringer.”

The leading character in each of these comedies is Charles Fang, reputed to be the only Chinese comedian in America. To those who have seen Fang’s work on the screen, he appears to possess an unusual and infectious smile, and while his work carries with it the mannerisms of the Oriental, there is said to be an American flavor to it withal.
On September 17, 1918 Fang signed his World War I draft card. He resided in Manhattan, New York City, at 355 West 58th Street. He was actor employed by the Norma Talmadge Film Company at 318 East 48th Street, New York City. Fang’s description was short, slender build with black eyes and hair.

Talmadge’s “The Forbidden City” was released October 6, 1918. She and Fang appeared together in a lobby card. The Bridgeport Times (Connecticut), November 8, 1922, explained a bit of the film’s production.
During the making of “The Forbidden City,” starring Norma Talmadge, a Selznick picture playing at the Empire theatre today, the studio in New York took on a very Oriental air. In order to give the proper atmosphere to the picture, P. L. Yuam, the best informed expert on Chinese history and customs in America, was engaged for research work. Mr. Yuam also supervised the making of all costumes and scenic effects.

Among the more prominent members of the cast are several Chinese actors who are widely known in this country, including Charlie Fang, the Chinese screen comedian. Lee Wayne, another well known Oriental actor, is also in the cast, while Sam Kim is making his first appearance on the screen in this production.

The American portion of the cast includes Thomas Meighan who needs no introduction to the screen fans.
Fang was in the cast of “Mandarin’s Gold” which was reviewed in Variety, January 31, 1919.

The Miami Herald (Florida), September 28, 1919, published the following.
First Chinaman of Film Is in Checkers
Charles Fang, appearing in the mammoth William Fox production of Henry Blossom, Jr.’s, great racing melodrama “Checkers” at the Central theater, was the first Chinaman to be screened. Shortly after he returned from Manila, where he had served as a steward on Admiral Dewey’s flagship, Fang was engaged for a small part in a picture then being made on the west coast.

For several years he was afraid to mingle with his countrymen, for until quite recently the Chinese were greatly opposed to their own appearing in the silent drama. Men high in the various tongs stated that in all the motion pictures the Chinese were forced to portray roles that were villainous, and that a fair picture of a Chinaman never had been screened. if the role of a Chinaman were interpreted by an American actor, the Chinese admitted that they could not stop the unfair impression which the work was getting of the Chinaman; but they insisted that one of their own race should not forget the land of his birth to the extent of spreading aboard a bad impressions of his fellow countrymen.

It was in 1917, many years after he had made his debut on the screen that Charlie Fang was reinstated in favor by the Chinese. He appeared in person at a theater in the heart of Chinatown, New York, where a picture in which he had a prominent part was being shown, and proudly displaying his honorable discharge from the U.S. navy, appealed to his countrymen to support the United States in every way. Since that day he has been in the good graces of the Chinese.
Fang was mentioned in Stage and Screen (1920).

The 1920 census recorded moving picture actor Fang in Moriah, New York, where he, another actor, a cameraman and scenic artist were boarding, apparently for a movie production.

Motion Picture News, October 16, 1920, noted Fang’s role in “The Honorable Gentleman”.
The first Hugo Ballin independent production, which the W.W. Hodkinson Corporation has scheduled for early release, under the working title of “The Honorable Gentleman” has an “extraordinary strong cast,” in the opinion of the Hodkinson organization.

… Little Charlie Fang, who has been seen for the past six years in many Mack Sennett productions, is cast as “The Hatchetman” and himself to be probably the most consummate Chinese actor on the screen.
The New York Tribune, June 11, 1922, said a new film company would use Fang.
New Motion Picture Firm to Produce in New York
A new motion picture firm has just come to light. It is the Lustre Photoplays. Inc. of which J. W. Foster is the president and Robert Carson,
director general.

The plans of the new corporation call for three producing units, which
will stage twenty two-reel semi-western pictures; twelve five-reelers and fifty.two one-reel comedies in which Charlie Fang. a Chinese comedian, will be the chief luminary. The first producing unit which will stage the two-reel subjects will begin work next Monday at Plattsburgh, N. Y., where a studio has just been completed for the use of Lustre Photoplays. Judith Jordan will be starred in these short subjects.
Apparently Fang had some martial arts skills according to the Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska), July 30, 1925.
Demonstrate Jiu Jitsu
Walter Miller and Charles Fang are called upon to display real skill at jig jitsu in “Sunken Silver,” the Pathe serial adapted from Albert Payson Terhune’s novel, “Black Caesar’s Clan,” in which Miller is featured with Allene Ray and which opens Sunday at the Moon theater. Fang, who plays an important role in the story, also acted for the company as official instructor of jiu jitsu. This art of self-defense in which one’s opponent is compelled to sue his strength to his own disadvantage os splendidly demonstrated when Big Ivan Linow is worsted by Fang, only half Linow’s size.
Fang’s screen appearances dried up after 1925. But he still found work helping to cast Chinese in films. The Canton Repository (Ohio), December 16, 1928, said … “A great help on the Chinese was Charlie Fang, one of the best-known Chinese actors in the business. He has been helping on Oriental pictures for years. We told Charlie what we needed and he went out and found some of the best Chinese types in the whole cast.”

According to the 1930 census, Fang had a room at 110 122nd Street in Manhattan. He was a self-employed stage actor.

In 1930 Fang found roles on the stage in “Gold Braid” and “Roar China”. The following year he appeared in “Just to Remind You”.

Fang’s final film role was in “My Sin”. He was credited in the Hollywood Spectator, November 1931.

Fang was in Cole Porter’s musical, “Anything Goes”, which ran for almost a year on Broadway, from November 21, 1934 to November 16, 1935. Variety, November 27, 1934, reviewed “Anything Goes”.

Below: Pages from The Playbill for “Anything Goes”
at the Alvin Theatre, New York City, February 1935


The musical went on a national tour. The Evening Star (Washington, DC), November 24, 1935, said
Washington will have an opportunity to renew acquaintance with Billy Gaxton and Victor Moore, who scored on their first appearance here together in “Of Thee I Sing,” when “Anything Goes” comes to the National Theater December 2.

The partnership, which began so auspiciously in that political lampoon, has been carried on brilliantly in the present Vinton Freedley musical hit, which directs its shafts against the national worship of the big-shot gangster. “Anything Goes” has just completed a run of one year on Broadway.

The libretto of the musical has been developed by the combined talents of Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse. Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, and Cole Porter has provided a series of lilting songs which have won international acclaim.

In addition to Moore and Gaxton the cast includes Benay Venuta and Irene Delroy in the leading feminine roles; Leslie Barrie, Helen Raymond, Paul Everton, Vera Dunn, John C. King, Florence Earle, Houston Richards, May Abbey, George E. Mack, Drucilla Strain, Maurice Elliot, Billy Curtis, Val Vestoff, Pacie Ripple, Robert Lynne, Vivian Vance, Richard Wang, Charlie Fang and the Singing Foursome.
Below: Pages from The Playgoer for “Anything Goes”
at the Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, November 1935


The 1940 census said Fang was staying at 225 West End Avenue in Manhattan. The actor’s highest level of education was the third grade. He had been unemployed for 65 weeks.

Fang had the same address on his World War II draft card which he signed in April 1942. He had income from the Works Project Administration. His description was five feet two inches, 110 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair.

On November 18, 1947, Fang filed a Social Security application which had his name as Charles J. Fang.

An obituary for Fang has not been found. The New York, New York Death Index, at Ancestry.com, has a Charles Fang who passed away November 2, 1956, in Manhattan.

Fang’s filmography is here.

(Next post on Friday: Four Seasons by Ling-fu Yang)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Chinese at the 1869 Golden Spike Ceremony

The 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad Completion was celebrated earlier this year. The photograph of that historic 1869 event, the driving of the Golden Spike, excluded Chinese workers.


The 1924 film, “The Iron Horse”, rewrote history by including some Chinese workers and Native Americans at the Golden Spike ceremony. The John Ford-directed film can be seen on YouTube. During the Golden Spike sequence, some Chinese workers can be seen at the two-hour and twenty-fifth minute mark. Below is a screen-shot of the Chinese workers cheering two minutes later.



Further Reading
TCM
John Ford: The Searcher, 1894–1973
John Ford: Hollywood's Old Master
Voices from the Railroad: Stories by Descendants of Chinese Railroad Workers
Spike 150


(Next post on Friday: Charles Fang, Actor)

Friday, August 30, 2019

“Mandarin’s Gold“

The Dramatic Mirror, May 18, 1918, said
Immediately upon the filming of the final scenes of “Merely Players,” Director Oscar Apfel of World Pictures began the direction of Kitty Gordon in “Mandarin’s Gold,” an original story from the pen of Philip Lonergan, and adapted to the screen by Lucien Hubbard of the World staff. Miss Gordon is supported by Irving Cummings, George MacQuarrie, and others. The picture deals with life in Chinatown, New York. …
Pre-production work was reported in Dramatic Mirror, June 1 1918.
Oscar Apfel has been searching the various shops and haunts of Chinatown for local color. He is soon to begin directing Kitty Gordon in “The Mandarin’s Gold.” In this picture several scenes occur in a Chinese home, and in order to get the correct atmosphere Mr. Apfel has secured introductions to some of the better class families and has been dining on chop suey with them and observing their habits and customs of home life.
Filming of “Mandarin’s Gold” was reported in Motography, June 8, 1918.
Starts “Mandarin’s Gold”
After several weeks’ preliminary work Director Oscar Apfel has “Mandarin’s Gold” under way at the World studio. Kitty Gordon is the star and Irving Cummings is her leading man. The other members of the cast include George MacQuarrie, Warner Oland, Anthony Merlo, Marguerite Gale, Veronica Lee, Joseph Lee, Marion Barney, Charles Fang and Alice Lee.

The picture has an oriental locale and requires a large number of Chinese. Because of this fact an interpreter had to be engaged. Mr. Apfel located as many scenes as possible in New York’s Chinatown.
So far, the earliest mention of Alice Lee was found in the Cincinnati Post (Ohio), June 6, 1918.

































Many newspapers published the same photograph. The amount of text varied due to space limitations. Here are links to the Washington Herald (DC), June 7, 1918, Evening Public Ledger, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), June 8, 1918, Albuquerque Morning Journal (New Mexico), June 9, 1918, Ogden Standard (Utah), June 11, 1918, Chattanooga News (Tennessee), June 13, 1918, Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota), July 16, 1918, and Pensacola Journal (Florida), August 25, 1918.

An article about Alice was published June 15, 1918 in Motography.
Plans to Uplift China Through Films
Young Oriental Girl Who Has Part in World Picture Sees Way to Make Countrymen Respect Her Sex
Asking a million questions a minute and carefully storing away in her keen mind all the information she absorbs for future use in the elevating of womankind in her native country, Alice Lee, a bright young Chinese girl, is the busiest person about the World studio in West Fort Lee these days.

Miss Lee realizes that motion pictures are the greatest propaganda force in the world today and it is for that reason that she has chosen the movies as the mode of bringing her countrymen to higher things.

Miss Lee is appearing as one of the leading characters in a new World Picture, “Mandarin’s Gold,” in which Kitty Gordon is starred, and she is utilizing every moment she has at the studio in studying the making of pictures, from the staging of the plays to the developing of the negatives and the making of the prints.

“Everyone knows,” said Miss Lee, “how the Chinese father considers a son a blessing, and a daughter a curse. Everyone knows how different things are here—how American women are looked up to and respected and what an important place they take in the daily life, especially in these war times.

“There is no reason why the Chinese women should not also be looked up to and respected by the Chinese men and with the aid of the knowledge I have gained in the World studio I hope to be successful in bringing this change about or at least starting the change.

“I am going back to China soon and with me I will take several thousands of feet of film showing the way that American men treat American women—with the utmost respect. Then, when I am in China, I will take pictures showing the way that Chinese men treat our womenfolk. After this I will show both pictures, one after the other, and in this way forcibly bring home to my countrymen the difference in the standing of women in America and China.

“It is so that I may be able to have success in taking the pictures back home in China that I am studying so hard here and asking so many questions which the World people so kindly answer for me.”
A nearly identical version appeared in Moving Picture World, June 15, 1918, which was reprinted in the book Fort Lee: The Film Town (1904-2004).


































Alice was on the cover of The World Magazine, June 30, 1918.































Above: Green Book Magazine, July 1918


Photoplay, August 1918, published a photograph of Alice with Warner Oland and Oscar Apfel, the film’s director.
































“Mandarin’s Gold” was reviewed in Variety, January 31, 1919.
Betty Cardon…..Kitty Gordon
Blair Cardon…..Irving Cummings
Geoffrey North…..George MacQuarrie
Susan Pettigrew…..Marguerite Gale
Cherry Blossom…..Veronica Lee
Li Hsun…..Warner Oland
Wu Sing…..Joseph Lee
Mrs. Stone…..Marion Barney
Bertie Standish…..Tony Merlo

Kitty Gordon is starred in this new World five-reel feature written by Philip Lonergan and directed by Oscar Apfel. It is of the melodrama type and has been built around the star. There is nothing particularly new about the theme, but the production is featured by handsome Oriental settings and the types representing the characters are unusually good.

Miss Gordon as Betty Cardon is addicted to bridge and as a result is always hard up. Her husband becomes tired of paying her I. O. U.’s and forbids her to play, but she continues and gets further into debt, and in her efforts to meet her obligations gets into a number of compromising situations. Getting into the clutches of a Mandarin is one of them.

Irving Cummings is Miss Gordon’s leading man, and he makes the most of a difficult part. There are many Chinese in the picture. Of these Alice Lee is the best. Miss Lee seems to enter into the spirit of the picture and acts with earnestness. Warner Oland as the Mandarin is wonderfully and gorgeously attired and gives a splendid characterization of the exalted Chinese, who comes to an untimely and, being shot in a raid upon his apartment in which he had a number of Chinese girls. Betty Cardon was caught in the raid, and she has to make lengthy explanations to her husband before he will believe that she was there in the interests of a little Chinese girl whom  they had adopted and whom the Mandarin wanted to make one of his many wives.

“Mandarin’s Gold” is nothing more than an ordinary feature.
Moving Picture World, February 1, 1919, said the film was scheduled for release on February 10 but it opened earlier.

The Billboard, February 8, 1919, reviewed “Mandarin’s Gold”.
Scenario by Lucien Hubbard, directed by Oscar Apfel, starring Kitty Gordon, a World Picture

Reviewed by Marion Russell

Chinese atmosphere galore, but of the higher class, contrasting, strongly with American society.

Leading Parts: Kitty Gordon, Irving Cummmings, George MacQuarrie, Warner Oland, Marion Barney, Veronica Lee.

The Story in Skeleton Form

Betty Cardon, extravagant society wife of a
hard working lawyer, loses huge sums of money at bridge and accepts assistance from an ardent admirer. Her recklessness involves her good name and she is hounded by a rich Mandarin from whose clutches she has rescued a Chinese girl. Murder, police raids and other horrors pursue her until she awakes from the unpleasant dream of a happy reality.

The Critical X-Ray

Departing somewhat from the old hackneyed material this story takes one into new fields with interest holding t» the final scene, and then the shock of the trick perpetrated angers by the disclosure that after all originality is lacking, for tbe story is only a dream.

But the embellishments are so realistic and many deft touches, such as the Mandarin’s long finger nails, the many curios in the apartment and paraphernalia, correct replicas of such an establishment, are cleverly pictured.

The opening scenes following artistic subtitles are splendidly conveyed and the contrast offered by the lighthearted woman of social standing pitted against the sly, subtle demeanor of the Celestial is graphically shown. There is a charm, too, offered by the unique characterization of a real Chinese girl playing under the name af Veronica Lee. Her delineation of the persecuted daughter of the curio merchant was a fine achievement. It is her appeaance [sic] which injects a new angle to the story. Kitty Gordon was at her best in this picture. She has tbe poise and beauty to represent the frivilous society woman, wearer of attractive gowns, whose love of luxury was seized upon by the crafty Mandarin, ably played by Warner Oland. This actor has made a careful study of the Oriental’s manner and bearing, his cruel cunning and ability to read character. His makeup in the role could not have been improved upon. Irving Cummings and George McQuarrie [sic] were thoroly [sic] competent in leading parts.

Direction consistently good and photography clear.

The Woman’s Point of View

This is the type of parts suited to our statuesque screen star, and we admire the regal manner in which she walks thru her many scenes. Tho she never convinces us that she is really suffering, her work is that of a refined woman, not troubled with a surplus of emotion.

Advertising Suggestions

With such a title and attractive start the possibilities for publicity are numerous.

Suitability

For all classes.
The Dramatic Mirror, February 8, 1919, published music cues for “Mandarin’s Gold”.






















The February 8 Moving Picture World included a “Mandarin’s Gold” photograph.

































The same issue had the cast list, synopsis and ways to promote the film. (Another synopsis appeared in Photoplay Plot Encyclopedia (1920).)


































A week later, Moving Picture World printed the following advertisement.

































The Columbia Record (South Carolina), February 9, 1919, published the following article and advertisement.


































Below are “Mandarin Gold” advertisements from other cities.

Chicago Tribune, February 18, 1919

Los Angeles Daily Herald, March 6, 1919

Duluth Herald, March 26, 1919

Utica Observer, May 2, 1919

Daily Argus, June 12, 1919

The Saratogian, November 11, 1919




































































































In the Dramatic Mirror, February 15, 1919, synopsis it mentioned one of the female characters, Tsai Mun. Veronica Lee was credited as Cherry Blossom, so, apparently, Alice Lee was Tsai Mun.
Betty Cardon has lost a considerable sum of money at bridge and is considering the offer of a wicked old Mandarin to sell Tsai Mun, her ward, to him for a large sum of money. “But a dream, in which she and the Chinese girl undergo much suffering, shows her the folly of such an act, so instead she confesses to her husband and receives the money from him. And Tsai Mun is free to marry the Chinese of her choice.
Despite the publicity there was no mention of Alice’s age, birthplace, family, residence, education and date of her return home. Was she related to Veronica and Joseph Lee?

I believe an article in The New York Times, October 17, 1915, provided the first clues to Alice’s identity.
Chinese Girl Runs Hotel Lounge.
The first Chinese woman to be employed in a New York hotel is in charge of the lounge at the Hotel Claridge. She is Miss Alice Lee, who, though of Oriental parentage, was born in Mott Street. Miss Lee attended the Washington Irving High School and speaks and reads Chinese as fluently as English.
While working at the Claridge, Alice was discovered by star actress Mary Pickford, whose trip with Alice to Chinatown was told in two nearly identical stories in The New York Times, March 5, 1916 and New York Dramatic Mirror, March 11, 1916. The articles had information about Alice’s age, parents and address.
The New York Times
Mary Pickford, who will soon be seen in a Chinese photoplay with scenes laid in New York, Jacksonville, and Savannah, has engaged Alice Lee, a little Chinese girl, to appear with her in some of the scenes. Alice Lee is an American-born girl of 16, living at 32 Mott Street. Her father is a laundryman in Baltimore, but her mother and younger sister live at the former address. Last Saturday Miss Pickford and Miss Lee spent the afternoon in Chinatown. The two motored there in Miss Pickford’s car, the actress desiring to make arrangements with Miss Lee’s mother, and at the same time to purchase several costumes and properties for the play.

The occasion proved a holiday for Chinatown, for one bright-eyes youngster recognized the film star and instantly the party was besieged by the entire population of the street. The children told Miss Pickford that she was prettier in real life than in the pictures, and others demanded to see Charlie Chaplin, whom they thought must be concealed somewhere in the car. Someone, doubtless a storekeeper, who was afraid of his windows being crushed in, sent for the police and a squad of six was sent to keep off the crowds. A restaurant keeper whose place adjoined the silk store in which the party took refuge offered to escort them through a passageway into his place and thus escape the crowd, but this actress refused.

After a call on Mrs. Lee, who Miss Pickford declares “lived on the ninth floor back of a four-story house,” she beat a hasty retreat from Chinatown.

New York Dramatic Mirror
Mary as Mongol
“Trip to Chinatown” Foreshadows Her Appearance in Another Character Creation
Miss Mary Pickford, who will soon be seen in a Chinese photoplay with scenes laid in New York, Jacksonville and Savannah, has engaged little Alice Lee, the Chinese girl at the Claridge hotel, to appear with her in some of the scenes. Alice Lee is an American born girl of 16, living at 32 Mott Street. Her father is a laundryman in Baltimore, but her mother and younger sister live at the former address. Last Saturday Miss Pickford, Miss Lee and Miss Anna Pelton of the Claridge, spent the afternoon in Chinatown. The three motored there in Miss Pickford’s car, the actress desiring to make arrangements with Miss Lee’s mother, and at the same time to purchase several costumes and “properties” for the play.

The occasion proved a holiday for Chinatown, for one bright-eyes youngster recognized the film star and instantly the party was besieged by the entire population of the street. The children told Miss Pickford that she was prettier in real life than in the pictures, and others demanded to see Charlie Chaplin, whom they thought must be concealed somewhere in the car. Someone, doubtless a storekeeper, who was afraid of his windows being crushed in, sent for the police and a squad of six was sent to keep off the crowds.

A restaurant keeper whose place adjoined the silk store in which the party took refuge offered to escort them through a passageway into his place and thus escape the crowd, but this actress refused. After a call on Mrs. Lee, who Miss Pickford declares “lives on the ninth floor back of a four-story house,” they made a hasty retreat from Chinatown. This probably foreshadows Mary Pickford in Chinese costume, to match her Japanese “Madame Butterfly” and Italian “Poor Little Peppina.”
It’s not clear what became of Pickford’s Chinese project.

Apparently Alice was born around 1900. Her father was a laundryman and she lived with her mother and younger sister in Chinatown at 32 Mott Street.

A Chinese woman named Alice Lee has not been found in the federal and state censuses at Ancestry.com. A number of Lee families were found near or at 32 Mott Street.

In the 1900 census a Lee family lived at 28 Mott Street. The father was Goon Lee, a laundryman, and the mother, Annie. The New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, at Ancestry.com, said Lee married Annie Baker on January 25, 1895 in Manhattan. They had five children: Maggie, Annie, Veronica, Joseph and George. (“Mandarin’s Gold” had two cast members named Veronica and Joseph Lee.) The census recorded Maggie’s birth as January 1890; Annie, February 1893; Veronica, July 1896; Joseph, April 1898; and George, December 1899. Maggie and Annie were born before their parents married.






















In the 1905 state census, Goon Lee was “Charley Lee”, a laundryman, and Maggie was not part of the household. The family resided at 32 Mott Street.


















On April 21, 1910, the census enumerator recorded the Lee family at 34 to 38 Mott Street. “Marguerite” was part of the household while her sister, Annie, was not. Their father was a laundryman. Curiously, on the next day, the same enumerator counted the Lee family at 32 Mott Street. Marguerite was listed as Margaret, and her father was a store merchant.

















The 1915 state census was on June 1. The two oldest daughters were not in the household. The five remaining family members continued to reside at 32 Mott Street.






















New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, at Ancestry.com, said the mother, Annie Lee, passed away September 28, 1915.

In 1918 “Mandarin’s Gold” was shot, in part, in New York Chinatown, where director Oscar Apfel scouted locations and people for the film. I believe Apfel met and hired Veronica and Joseph Lee.

Up to this point it’s still not clear who Alice Lee was and what happened to her after the film. Was she one of the older sisters, Margaret or Annie?

So far, there are no records on Joseph after the 1915 state census.

In the 1920 census Veronica, a theater usher, lived with Annie’s family on Second Avenue in Manhattan. The 1925 state census said Veronica, her father and brother George operated a chop suey store. In the 1930 census Veronica was married and had an eleven-year-old daughter, Ruth. Her husband was not listed but the census said he was a British Columbia native. Veronica remarried to Don Tsao, a restaurant waiter, according to the 1940 census. The household included her 21-year-old daughter and 80-year-old father. They lived at 330 Third Avenue in Manhattan.

The Social Security Death Index has a woman named Veronica Wong who had the same birth date as Veronica Lee. Wong passed away in May 1970, a White Plains, New York resident.


Further Reading
Internet Movie Database
Chronicling America


(Next post on Friday: Chinese at the 1869 Golden Spike Ceremony)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Life During Wartime

Life
December 22, 1941
How to Tell Japs from the Chinese























Pocket Guide to China 
War Department, 1942


 






























Scientific American
September 1943
Do you know the two big differences between the Japs and the Chinese?
Ethyl Corporation advertisement





















Intelligence Bulletin
March 1945
Is He Jap or Chinese?

























After the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese government announced its surrender on August 15, 1945. On September 2, 1945, General MacArthur accepted the surrender.


(Next post on Friday: Quarantine Station, San Francisco)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cartoon: There Goes the Neighborhood
















New York Evening World
March 21, 1906
Fight to Wipe Out Chinatown for Park Good as Won

Hearing Only Develops Weakness of the Opposition to Evening World’s Project.

No Serious Obstacle

Hovel-Owners Object to Protect Their Pockets—Sentiment Favoring Park Grows

If the attitude of the Local Board of Improvements that held the public hearing on the Evening World’s Chinatown Park project yesterday is any criterion the park is as good as established. The opposition showed its hand, and the hand was found to be a four-flush.

The Evening World’s presentation of the necessity for the proposed park was not fully made yesterday because the time was limited. Dr. Darlington, President of the Board of Health, and Archibald A. Hill, Secretary of the Metropolitan Parks Association, who were to have delivered addresses favoring the park plan were in Albany engaged in the Legislature on the Seaside park matter. They will be on hand at the next hearing.

Frank Moss, who has been making a study of Chinatown for years, was to have been present with a mass of data of an amazing character, but the [sic] was compelled to attend to another engagement. Mr. Moss will be on hand at the hearing two weeks hence with facts and figures and people to prove that it is the duty of New York to efface Chinatown and replace it with a park.

That the property owners who are fighting the improvement are fighting to save the hovels that produce enormous returns for them in the way of rent is plainly shown by the attitude of R. Aronson. Mr. Aronson owns $500,000 worth of property in the district about Chinatown and in Chinatown, but he does not rent his property for purposes that bring returns of from 35 to 50 per cent, per annum upon the assessed valuation.

He is in favor of destroying Chinatown and establishing a park. In the course of the improvement much of his property will be condemned, but he is willing to stand for it, knowing that the passing of Chinatown will mean a general property value increase for blocks in every direction.

“I attended the hearing,” said Mr. Aronson to-day, “intending to make a speech advocating the improvement, but when I saw the shallowness of the opposition I realized the park plan has won. The motive actuating the objectors is so obvious that it cannot stand the light of day. I am the heaviest Hebrew taxpayer in Chinatown and I am in favor of making the district into a park.”

Friday, July 5, 2019

Caroline Chew aka King Lan Chew, Dancer

born November 4, 1901 or 1902, San Francisco, California


1910 UNITED STATES FEDERAL CENSUS
3765 Shafter Avenue, Oakland, California
Household Members
Name / Age / Occupation
Ng Poon Chew, 42, newspaper editor
Chun Fah Chew, 38
Mansie Chew, 17
Effie Chew, 16
Rose Chew, 14
Edward Chew, 13
Caroline Chew, 7


1920 UNITED STATES FEDERAL CENSUS
3765 Shafter Avenue, Oakland, California
Household Members
Name / Age / Occupation
Ng Poon Chew, 53, newspaper manager
Chun Fah Chew, 45
Mansie C Chew, 27, music teacher
Effie B Chew, 26, kindergarten teacher
Rose B Chew, 24
Edward C Chew, 23
Caroline B Chew, 17
Pearl Ng, 18
Jean N Toy, 24


Oakland Tribune
(California)
May 29, 1917
Grammar and High Schools to Graduate Large Classes
Over 1000 Students Reach Epochal Milestone in Life’s Journey

Grant School
Plymouth Center Gymnasium hall, May 31, 8:!5 p.m.
… Caroline Chew …

Oakland Tribune(California)
April 17, 1925
Music and Musicians
Caroline Chew, Chinese dancer, has returned to the Eastbay after a tour of the East that made her many friends, and brought her much favorable comment.

Miss Chew will dance Tuesday night, April 30, at the Campus Theater, Berkeley, in the first of a series of recitals planned for that house by William E. Chamberlain.


Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 19, 1925
Mills Students in Mixed Program.
Mills College senior class in music held a musicale Wednesday afternoon, April 15, in Alumnae hall.

Those appearing on the program of piano, vocal and violin numbers were:

Piano—Mary Louise Webster, Caroline Chew, Elizabeth Smith, Lucile peters and Sarah Matthews. …

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 24, 1925
Mills College to Award Honors on 12th of May
List of Candidates for High Degrees; State Certificates to Be Issued.
The following are candidates for degrees at Mills College commencement day will be May 12.

Bachelor of Arts Degree—… Caroline Chew, Oakland, Cal. … Esther Yun-Wing Wong, San Francisco, Cal.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 26, 1925
Mills Students Plan Concerts
Two concerts are to be given by Mills College students Thursday and Saturday evenings in Lisser hall, on the Mills campus. The Thursday night concert will consist of the presentation of original compositions by students in the Theory of Music course. The composers are: … Caroline Chew …

Oakland Tribune(California)
May 12, 1925
Mills Gives Degrees to 92 Students
Fifty-ninth Commencement at Women’s School Draws Throng of Alumnae; New Graduates Have Luncheon

The Graduates

Following is the list of those who received degrees today:

Bachelor of Arts— … Caroline Chew, Oakland …

San Francisco Chronicle

(California)
September 16, 1928
Miss Chew Is Guest of Honor at Reunion
With Miss Carolyn Chew [sic] as guest of honor, the members of the Table Six Club held their tenth reunion in the form of a week-end party in Fruitvale recently. Miss Dorothy Wellman, hostess, entertained her guests with hiking, athletic contests and a varied program of other amusements during the three-day party.

Among those who were present were Miss Leila Hostetter, honorary member of the club; Caroline Chew, Cora Hendricksen, Cora Stargenberger, Marion Gliddon, Doris Ross and Elvera Johnson.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
April 14, 1929
Muriel Stuart Honored at Dance Festival
The Muriel Stuart Dancers gave an enjoyable dance festival in honor of Muriel Stuart, the distinguished terpsichorean artist, who proved such a decisive success as prima ballerina with the Chicago Opera Company last season, in the Community Playhouse last Sunday afternoon.

An audience that crowded this artistic auditorium heartily applauded the efforts of the young dancers, who were trained by Iris de Luce, under whose direction this delightful event was given.

The program was quite extensive and was participated in by eighteen exceptionally accomplished dancers who interpreted the sentiments of a number of well-known classics with an exceptionally artistic taste and judgment.

… The various participants, all of whom showed marked skill and talents were … Carolyn Chew [sic] …

1930 UNITED STATES FEDERAL CENSUS
3765 Shafter Avenue, Oakland, California
Household Members
Name / Age / Occupation
Ng Poon Chew, 63, newspaper journalist
Chun Fah Chew, 57
Mansie Chew, 37, private music teacher
Effie Chew, 36, public school teacher
Rose Chew, 34, social worker, International Institute
Caroline Chew, 27, social worker, International Institute

San Francisco Chronicle

(California)
December 19, 1932
Y.W.C.A. Will Give Yule Party Thursday
Celebrating Christmas in drama, ceremonial and song, the Young Women’s Christian Association will entertain on thursday night at 8:15 o’clock at 620 Sutter street. Under direction of Mrs. A.R. Hunter and accompanied by Miss Rosalie Haslett, harpist, a choir of carolers will sing. Fourteen girl reserves, representing fourteen countries, will offer a gift ceremonial. Miss Carolyn Chew [sic], will dance. A play, “Shepherds and Kings,” adapted by Juniush Cravens, will b presented.

Oakland Tribune(California)
March 12, 1933
…The young women’s section of the Berkeley Women’s City Club is planning an interesting evening Tuesday, when it will entertain the club’s board of directors. A modern dance concert will be given by Walton Biggerstaff and a gourd of supporting artists which include: Eleanor Brown, Helen Smart, Margery Wilson, Alice Synder, Sarah Waterman, Caroline Chew, Helen Hamilton, Louise Hildebrand, Kerna Maybeck, La Viva Del Curo and Hal Gooldman. Pasquin Bradfield, pianist, will be the accompanist. Costumes to be used were designed by Courtney Hunt. This program is open to members of the section only. Mrs. Marjorie Everhart is chairman of the section.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
March 15, 1934
Series of Concerts Slated for International House
Berkeley, March 15.—To provide a “musical background” for International House at the University of California, a new series of concerts will be inaugurated next Tuesday evening under the direction of William Edwin Chamberlain, secretary of the Berkeley Musical Association.

… For the second concert on Thursday evening, April 12, artists will be Caroline Chew, talented young Chinese dancer, …

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 10, 1934
Luncheon to Honor Lederer
Mrs. Peter Lederer, junior, past-president of Oakland’s Women’s City Club, will head the receiving line at a luncheon tomorrow honoring Francis Lederer, the actor; Dr. Margaret Chung, Chinese woman physician of San Francisco, and Mrs. R.C. Lowdermilk, who for many years made her home in the interior of China.

A special program of music will be presented and Miss Caroline Chew will give several dance numbers. …

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 12, 1934
advertisement

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 17, 1934
The College Women’s Club is also to be the setting for an event of importance tomorrow afternoon. Miss Caroline Chew, Chinese dancer of international fame, will give a program in conjunction with the club monthly formal tea.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 20, 1934
The Calendar
Tonight
Concert, 8 p.m., Caroline Chew, dancer, and Walton Biggerstaff, auspices Forum, Women’s City Club Theater.

The American Dancer
November 1934
San Francisco
Caroline Chew, or King Lan Chew, to give her real Chinese name, is conquering more and more audiences with the beauty and charm of her dance. On August 5 she gave a concert before a sold-out house in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and on her return engagement of September 9 she again filled the house to overflowing.

To quote from the Carmel critics: “Not an apostle of poses or of enigmatic movement, Miss Chew’s little feet lead her before the footlights for the joy of giving joy. Her reception at the Playhouse proves her ability to entertain and also proves that the metropolitan village will take to its bosom whom it pleases, nor let inconsistencies spoil its enjoyment … a quality lacking in some dancers, was the expression of her face which was in accord with the interpretations of her dancing ... The picture of youth and beauty presented by the maiden every moment was enough to gladden any eye, while each of her fifteen exquisite costumes brought a fresh delight.

King Lan Chew is scheduled to give a series of concerts in the south, at Long Beach, Riverside and Pomona early in October, and later at the International House in Berkeley.

The American Dancer
December 1934
Caroline Chew gave a concert at the International House in Berkeley. Miss Chew, an exponent of the Oriental dance, has also included in her program several numbers of the modern dance. A charming number among the latter was Dolorosa. Although danced without any musical accompaniment, it suggested music with its every movement. Dynamic, forceful and brilliant, drew enthusiastic applause from the public. Scenes from India was especially beautiful.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
December 7, 1934
Mills Day Is Held at Hotel
Mills Club of Alameda County, membership go which is composed of former students of Mills College, officially brought its 1934 season to a close today, when it entertained at the annual Mills Day at Hotel Oakland, with hundreds of members and their guest attending.

The affair, featuring a bazaar, opening this morning, and a tea this afternoon, was given as a benefit for a student loan fund maintained by the club.

Caroline Chew, Mills College graduate and interpreter of Oriental dances, was presented in a program at the tea, as was Helene Mayer, German fencer and holder of amateur fencing championship of the United States. Miss Mayer is a graduate student at Mills College at the present time.

Miss Chew, whose Chinese name, King Lan, means “The Last Orchid,” gave several native dances. She is a dancing pupil of Kreutzberg, Biggerstaff, Ito and Chow Kai Ming, the last named of whom came to America in the company of Mei Lang Fang [sic], famous Chinese actor. … 

New York Post
February 23, 1935




















Caroline Chew (left), young Chinese dancer, as she appears in the Traditional Chinese Sword Dance, which she will offer in her program at Town Hall next Friday evening.

Music Calendar
Friday, March 1
Caroline Chew, dance recital, Town Hall, 8:30

New York Sun
February 23, 1935
Dance Notes.
Caroline Chew, the only Chinese dancer in America, will appear at Town Hall, Friday evening, March 1, at 8:30. Although Miss Chew has appeared for the past three years on the Pacific Coast with great success, this will be her first appearance in New York. For all her dances, and especially the Oriental numbers, Miss Chew has taken great care in the selection of a wealth of authentic and beautiful costumes.

Her Town Hall program will include “Mu-Lan,” traditional Chinese Sword Dance; Chinese, Cambodian and Javanese Old Prints; a modern group including Debussy’s “Nocturne” and Gershwin’s “Phantasm” and other numbers: Hindu dances and other Chinese and modern works. Miss Chew will bring her own accompanist, Pasquin Bradfield, with her from the Coast.

New York Sun
March 2, 1935
Caroline Chew Presents Chinese Dances
Officially described as the “only Chinese woman dancer An America” Caroline Chew offered a recital in Town Hall last night. In addition to a number of traditional dances of China, Miss Chew was seen in compositions to the music of such un-Oriental composers as Gershwin, De Koven and Milhaud.

Miss Chew provided a generally interesting evening, particularly in the works drawn from her native East. She moves well, has provided herself with especially attractive costumes and is welcomely considerate of the music she employs. The opening “Sword Dance” was impressively accomplished, a nice sense of design manifesting itself, enhancing the sharp definiteness of Miss Chew’s movements, her skillful use of hands and arms. Three visualizations of old prints (Chinese, Cambodian and Javanese) were also colorfully costumed, well executed within their restricted area.

In her contemporary dances Miss Chew compelled one’s attention less, for her ideas were rather conventional, the treatment of them unexciting. Her plastic grace, however, was no less in evidence, especially in an unaccompanied impression titled “Languor.” Pasquin Bradfield was the accompanist.

The New Yorker
March 2, 1935
Ng’s Daughter
Miss Caroline Chew, making her debut here this week as the only Chinese woman dancer in this country, is, so far as citizenship is concerned, as American as anybody. She was born in California, which she has now left for the first time. It is the Chinese-American custom to name children in both English and Chinese, and her given name in the latter tongue is King Lan; means The Last Orchid. He father and mother were born in Canton, but came to American when they were small children, and most of her knowledge of China is hearsay. Her father, who died four years ago, was named Ng Poon Chew, Ng being pronounced, Miss Chew told us, as if you were saying “sing” without the “si.” It means No. 5. She doesn’t know why he was called that, but her father told her it was a big name in China. The father was a Presbyterian minister in a San Francisco Chinatown church until 1905, when he started a Chinese newspaper which became, and remains, the leading Chinese newspaper in the country, with a circulation of two hundred thousand. It still belongs to the family.

Caroline, or King Lan, went to the ordinary grade schools in Oakland, California, and them to Mills College there, gaining an M.A. degree. Her folks wanted her to be a musician and she majored in music, but always with he tongue in her cheek, because she wanted to be a dancer. She studied dancing for seven years under several teachers, including Chow Kai Ming, who was one of the company that came to this country with Mei Lan-fang a few years ago. He taught her the Chinese dances in her repertory. She also does Cambodian, Javanese, and Hindu dances, as well as modern ones. Incidentally, she thinks Mei Lan-fang is the greatest dancer in the world, although professionally his dancing is mere incidental to his acting. She saw quite a bit of him in California, but there wasn’t much they could say to each other, as she knows only a little Cantonese, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese. She made her first profession public appearance in San Francisco in 1932. She designs all her own costumes, and personally does the research on the historical and national ones. She puts zippers on them all. These aren’t Chinese, but they’re handy for quick changes. So far, the zipper has failed her only once. That was last year, when she was in the wings hurriedly putting on a pink taffeta affair with seven petticoats. No amount of pulling could make the zipper slide, and there was a stage wait of seven minutes while an electrician fixed things with a pair of pliers.

Barnard Bulletin
March 8, 1935
Caroline Chew
Caroline Chew, the only woman Chinese dancer in America, appeared in a solo recital at Town Hall Friday evening. Her background is very interesting. Her father, Ng Poon Chew, founded the first Chinese newspaper in the united States, and gained renown as a lecturer on racial amity. Caroline, of King Lan (the Last Orchid), was born in San Francisco and was graduated from Mills College. her dance education has been very broad. She has studied with Kreutzberg, Stuart, Biggerstaff, Ito, and Chow Kai Ming, who came here with the famous Chinese actor, Mei Lang Fang [sic].

Miss Chew has turned to the rich sources of her background and racial heritage for dance material. Her program was composed of dances in the modern idiom and in that of the Chinese, the latter represent traditional Chinese melodies and rhythms. She has a [illegible] careful to make her Oriental costumes authentic. Some of the dances were accompanied by percussion, the others by modern music and traditional melodies.

Miss Chew is more successful in her Oriental numbers that she is in her modern work. There she exhibited poise, prevision, sublety [sic] of movement and managed to convey the glamour and delicacy that we associate with Oriental dance. Her movements were sometimes made very striking by the [illegible] of hands and feet. One of the [illegible] of these dances was the Chinese one in the group called Old Prints. The composition was exquisitely delicate and [illegible] breathless.

The modern numbers showed several flaws. Miss Chew should acquire more restraint. There is too much moving around, not enough focus. The movements were not sharply defined or contrasted. Surprisingly, there was much more of that in the Oriental dances. If Miss Chew could bring to her modern work more of the technique that she shows in the Oriental dances she might be able to produce some very original work in that field. Among the best in the modern group were Nocturne, danced to Debussey’s [sic] Clair de Lune, and a lovely, naive peasant dance, entitled Corcovado.

Seattle Daily Times
(Washington)
March 13, 1935
Mr. and Mrs. Carl paige Wood—Mr. Wood, the former president and now vice president of Pro-Musica, made some announcements, including the fact that Caroline Chew, the famous woman Chinese dancer, will be presented here April 10 by Pro-Musica.

The Billboard
March 16, 1935
Caroline Chew Gives Interesting Dance Program
New York. March 9—Caroline Chew, Oriental dancer, gave a successful recital last Friday night at Town Hall, in which the combined both Oriental and Occidental numbers. Her performance was interesting but not exciting. There is no doubt of her ability to hold her audience—her designs are very pleasing and she has a technique that allows you to forget it—but there seems to be no great depth to her work. It is a series of smooth patterns—satisfactory to the eye.

The first part of the program was entirely Eastern, Mu-Lan, a masculine dance, was done with a strength and directness that made one feel that a man was dancing it. Old Prints and Two Japanese Sketches were negligible.

It Is rather unusual to see an Oriental do both Eastern and Western movements, but Miss Chew is not at all out of the picture in Western dancing. Phantasm was a black specter in jazz rhythm; Languor too touched by small nervous movement to carry its name; Dynamic, tho not forceful, covered space and was fairly strong. Nocturne left you feeling arm-conscious, and the costume was entirely against the dancer.

Corcovado and Nautch, from Scenes of India, proved the two most popular numbers.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
March 22, 1935































“The Last Orchid”
Miss Caroline Chew, the only Chinese woman dancer in America, is in Buffalo this week as the guest of Miss Marion R. Blackwell, 318 Summer street. Recently Miss Chew made a New York debut in a dance recital at Town hall. Her Chinese name, King Lan, means “the last orchid.”

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
March 23, 1935
Chinese Dancer Guest
On first trip East, tells of baffling subway
The only Chinese woman dancer in America is the guest of Miss Harriet Blackwell this weekend. She is Miss Caroline (King Lan) Chew of Oakland. Cal., who is on her way home after a successful debut in New York.

Miss Chew, with Dr. Eugene Czenner of Hungary, was guest of honor at a tea given yesterday at the International Institute in Delaware Avenue. Dainty Miss Chew, who is in her middle twenties, is enjoying her first trip East. The very first day in New York she determined to learn her way about in the subways. She started in Times Square, and ended there after having spent an hour trying to land somewhere else.

The dancer is one of five children born in this country of Chinese parentage. She has a master’s degree from Mills College, in Oakland. One sister is a concert pianist, another does social service work in the Philippines, another is a kindergartner and the brother is a civil engineer. Miss Caroline broke all the Chinese traditions when she determined to become a dancer, for Chinese women never appear in public.

At the tea yesterday she was lovely in a soft blue chiffon gown, fashioned in modified Oriental style with an upstanding band of the material fastened with white bone buttons at the high neck.

Mrs. Albert J. Phinney was chairman of the tea, assisted by Mrs. Edward A. Sharp, Mrs. William Reed. Mrs. John N. Schoen, Miss Charlotte Sweet, Mrs. Ferdinand di Bartolo and Mrs. George B. Newman, general chairman of the entertainment committee. Nearly 100 guests attended.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
March 23, 1935
Chinese Dancer Watches Progress of Two Worlds
Caroline Chew Admits They Have Bandits in China, But Anyhow There’s No Chop Suey.
Her name, in Chinese, means “the last orchid.” Her dance themes are moonglow and starlight, temple bells and prayers. But Miss Caroline Chew, only Chinese woman dancer in this country, is interested in what is happening in China today. Miss Chew, a native of San Francisco, is a guest here this week of Miss Marion R. Blackwell, 318 Summer street. Miss Blackwell is executive secretary of International Institute, 334 Delaware avenue, and worked with Miss Chew’s sister in the International Institute in Honolulu.

“Japan is making a great mistake in forcing her way upon China. If she doesn’t watch out she will lose her identity,” declared Miss Chew in an interview.

“Curiously enough, China is not a fighting nation; the Chinese are peace loving, yet they have been victorious over all their conquerors.”

Manchoukuo, to Miss Chew, remains Manchuria.

“The Japanese say now in Manchuria there are only 10,000 bandits instead of the many thousands they found there. How do they know? Have they statistics? Did they take a census? I think a lot of the bandits are on the Japanese payroll. I do think the League of Nations should have prevented the Japanese taking Manchuria,

“I have no hatred, mind you, for individual Japanese. I have some charming friends among them, but as a nation, they have had their own way and they are spoiled.”

Miss Chew, on March 1, made her New York debut on a program of Oriental and modern dances, in Town Hall.

Two things about New York were amazing. One was the subway, the other chop suey.

”We have a dish at home made on the same principle as chop suey, but it’s just plain hash. It's not as fancy as the chop suey.”

She launched on her dancing career, much against her parents’ wishes, she said. Her father Ng Poon Chew, was a Presbyterian minister, until he deserted the pulpit for newspaper work and lecturing.

He founded the first Chinese newspaper in the United States, and before his death lectured throughout this country on racial amity

“And mother has become a good sport about my career,” said the dancer.

She learned dancing from such celebrities as Kreutzberg, Stuart, Biggerstaff, Ito and Chow Kai Ming, the distinguished Chinese dancer who came to this country with the famous Chinese actor, Mei Lang Fang [sic].

Miss Chew is a graduate of Mills college in Oakland, Cal.

Seattle Daily Times
(Washington)
March 24, 1935
Pro-Musica, Seattle Chapter, announces an interesting dance recital for Wednesday, April 10, when Caroline Chew, the only Chinese woman dancer in America, will be presented in the Repertory Playhouse.

The Oregonian
(Portland, Oregon)
April 3, 1935
Town Club Bills Dancer for April 12
The Town club announces a program of oriental dances for the night of April 12 to be given by Caroline Chew (The Last Orchid), the only woman Chinese dancer in America.

The performance will be given at the club and will be open to the public. zit will start at 8:30 P.M.

The Oregonian
(Portland, Oregon)
April 7, 1935




















Miss Chew to Appear in Concert
Chinese Dance Presented at Town Club Here Next Friday
Caroline Chew, beautiful young Chinese dancer, will be presented in a dance concert here by the Town Club Friday night, at 8:30 o’clock. An interesting product of the modern age, she was born in San Francisco of Chinese parents with the inherent background of Chinese culture and art.

Her father was Ng Poon Chew, a man of culture and intellect, who founded the first Chinese newspaper in the United States and was well known throughout the country as a lecturer on racial amity. His daughter, King Lan, (The Last Orchid), for that is Miss Chew’s Chinese name, is a graduate of Mills college, where she majored in music and composition and looked forward to a professional career as a pianist.

Pianist Turns to Dance

Her love of dance, however, proved stronger and after a period of study with Stuart Biggerstaff, Kreutzberg, Ito and Cho Kai Ming, the Chinese dancer who came to America with the famous Chinese actor, Mei Lang Fang [sic], from whom she acquired her Chinese dances, Miss Chew decided to make terpsichore her guiding star.

She made an appearance early this season in Town hall, New York, for which she received favorable comment from the daily newspaper if that city. The New Yorker and Vogue have carried recent articles concerning her in which her art is highly commended. She is expected to include a group of three old prints in her program here, one Chinese, one Cambodian and one Javanese. She is said to have a flair for comedy and caricature, as well as for a more [illegible] type f dance pattern.

Tickets for her recital will be on sale tomorrow at the J.K. Gill store.

Seattle Sunday Times
(Washington)
April 7, 1935































Artists Due
Feodor Chaliapin (upper), famous Russian basso, who will be heard in recital in the Civic Auditorium tomorrow night; Caroline Chew (lower), Chinese dancer, to be presented by Seattle Chapter of Pro Musica in a recital in the Seattle Repertory Playhouse on Wednesday night, April 10.

Seattle Daily Times
(Washington)
April 9, 1935
Dancer to Be Presented
Dean Willis Uhl who is president of the Seattle Chapter of Pro-Musica, and Mrs. Uhl—Caroline Chew, famous Chinese dancer, will be presented by Pro-Musica at the Repertory Playhouse tomorrow evening …

Seattle Daily Times
(Washington)
April 11, 1935
Caroline Chew Gives Program for Pro Musica
A dancer with the technique gained from work in all the different schools of the dance, a highly intellectual dancer who is a great artist because she projects the particular character of the particular tradition she is doing, instead of projecting herself, is Caroline Chew. So members of Seattle Chapter, Pro Musica, Inc., decided last evening as they watched her in a program at the Repertory Playhouse. And later they met her at the reception which followed, and told her so, to be thanked with such charm of manner that they found her as delightful to know as to watch.

Miss Chew danced from the Orient to the Occident, giving the best of each, and them did two conventional numbers, Debussey’s [sic] “Nocturne” by moonlight lighting, her clinging satin gown catching the lights, and Beethoven’s amusing “Contra Danze.” She closed the program with a typical Chinese dance, “The Chinese Actor,” in which her costume was almost as breath-taking as her dancing, and two scenes from India that held her audience spell-bound, “Pastoral” and “Nautch Dance.” Some of her Oriental dances, such as “Mo Kung Foo” and “Mu Lan,” were done to percussion.

A group of Chinese girls who ushered, wearing blue satin, were Misses Frances Soun Lew, Mollie Locke, Priscilla Hwang and Marjorie Lew Kay. Miss Chew was introduced by Dean Willis L. Uhl, and at the reception mrs. Bernard Mullen and Miss Frances Dickey poured. The reception was arranged by Mrs. Thomas Hermans, assisted by Misses Margaret Evans, Ilo Carey and Janet Adams.

The Oregonian
(Portland, Oregon)
April 12, 1935
Caroline Chew to Give Chinese Dances Tonight
Pretty as a doll from Old Cathay, Caroline Chew arrived in Portland last night to try to prove that orchids are as beautiful as roses. Miss Chew is the only Chinese woman dancer in America, and her name in her father’s native tongue is “The Last Orchid.” Tonight she will be presented in a program of traditional Chinese dances, as well as a number created in her own studio.

“In China nice girls don’t appear in the professions,” she said. “The stage, above all things, is taboo. So when I went to Mills college I was anxious to take up dancing, but there were parents to be considered. So I majored in music, taking piano and composition. But all the while I practiced dancing, and studied the art all the time I could find. Now, save for the traditional dances of the orient, I create most of the other numbers I present.”

Miss Chew has never danced in the land of her father, but hopes to tour China in two years. The end of next season will find her in London. From there she hopes to sail for Shanghai and make a tour of all Cathay’s large cities.

The Oregonian
(Portland, Oregon)
April 14, 1935
Mrs. Look was a dinner hostess Friday night at the Town club preceding the dance program by Caroline Chew, Chinese woman dancer.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 21, 1935
Caroline Chew Returns After ‘Showing” New York
The pensive dances of Caroline Chew, imparting the tradition of the Orient, brought New York to a reflective turn when the young Chinese dancer went East to her Town Hall debut.

During recent seasons the semaphorings of La Graham, a leader of the modern trend in dancing, and the wigglings of Sally Rand, have influenced the metropolitan viewpoint on matters of the dance: the extreme, the ugly, the geometric, the prurient have replaced in a degree the old ideals of simple grace and rhythm.

Then came Miss Chew last month to Town Hall. A Good throng turned out to witness the “only Chinese woman dancer in America.” The young and comely Chinese girl, who was educated at Mills College and still thinks of the Bay area as the finest place on earth (to live) completely won the hearts of her audience; probably softened them to a more gentle view of what the dance should be. The critics were liberal with praise; Miss Chew was immediately booked for concerts next season at this same Town Hall, at the University of Columbia, in Chicago and elsewhere.

All of which make Miss Chew’s local friends pretty proud, who have observed her is the ascendancy.

Miss Chew is back home this week. Tuesday night, April 30, she will dance at the Campus Theater, Berkeley, in the first of a series of concerts William E. Chamberlain is planning for that house.

Her program will be fresh; virtually all the dances Miss Chew has conceived since her last recital here. The costumes, too, are of her own modeling. Clever—and industrious—are the Chinese!

The Rockridge Choral
Presents Caroline Chew in a Program of Oriental and Modern Dances
Rockridge Women’s Club
5682 Keith Avenue [Oakland, California]
April 26 [1935]






















Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 27, 1935
Eastbay Society, Clubs, P.-T.A.
Society will welcome Caroline Chew, Mills graduate and Chinese dancer in a program of Oriental and modern dances Tuesday evening, April 30 at the Campus theater in Berkeley. Known as King Lan (The Last Orchid) the artist is the daughter of Ng Poon Chew. The artist majored in music in college and later became interested in the art of dancing. She will appear next season in the Artist Series of Columbia University, New York, and the New York Dance Institute.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 28, 1935




















Miss Chew to Do Dances of China, India
Although Caroline Chew is known to her public  as a Chinese woman dancer, the scope of her talent reaches beyond the confines of her native China.

For her program Tuesday night at the Campus Theater in Berkeley, Miss Chew has evolved dances mirroring the traditions, not only of her own land, but of Japan, Persia, Java and India.

The dances have been added to the comely young artist’s repertoire since her return this month from the East. There, the creations which local dance lovers will recall having seen her perform at concerts at International House, Berkeley, and the Women’s City Club, Oakland, elicited such comments as this, from the New York American:

“Her delineation of the character in Chinese, Cambodian and Javanese prints, and her performance of two Japanese sketches were interesting examples of exotic poses and plasticity.”

Accompanied by Pasquin Bradfield, Miss Chew, whose name Caroline in Chinese means The Last Orchid, will perform the following numbers Tuesday night in Berkeley:
Cambodian Idol…..Traditional Melody Figurines
Chinese…..Traditional Melody
Persian…..M. Bradfield
Javanese…..Spencer
No King Foo…..Percussion

Intermission
Phantasm…..Gershwin
Ecclesiastical Suite
Renunciation…..Ornstein
Supplication…..Yamada
Benediction…..Scriabine
Lament…..Scott
Scherzo…..Karganoff

Intermission
Two Japanese Sketches…..Tamada Scenes from India
Pastorale…..Crist
Nautch…..Strickland
Mu-lan…..Percussion

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 29, 1935
Activities of Eastbay Society, Clubs
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mason Harris will entertain tomorrow evening at dinner before the Caroline Chew dance program at the Campus Theater in Berkeley. Their guests will include Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Hutchinson, Mr. James Hutchinson, Mrs. Frederick Torney and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Legge of Berkeley.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 30, 1935
Tonight
Concert, 8:15 p.m., Caroline Chew, Campus Theater, Berkley.

Campus Theatre
Berkeley, Bancroft Way Below Telegraph
Tuesday April 30 [1935]
Caroline King Lan (The Last Orchid) Chew
The Only Chinese Woman Dancer in America

























Syracuse American
(New York)
July 7, 1935
Five other numbers are being offered on the season course by the Civ1c Music Association, these including … and, as an additional novelty, the only American Chinese dancer, King Lan or Caroline Chew, who will give a delightful program of Oriental dances, and who played recently in Vancouver to a big audience.

Los Angeles Times
(California)
July 19, 1935
Program General
Mrs. Cecil Frankel is the program general of the club and acts as the chairman through whom all arrangements are made. She has as assistants, Mmes. Gordon Hair, Philip Zobelein, Nathaniel Stockwell, John D. Fredericks, Mrs. Stern, Dean Pearl Aiken-Smith of the University of Southern California and Mrs. W.A. Paxton.

Mrs. Zobelein, chairman of music, will present the opening program, October 4, with Caroline Chew (King Lan Chew—the Last Orchid.) only Chinese woman dancer in America. Born in San Francisco of Chinese parents, she is a graduate of Mills College.

A series of musical book reviews of classics and modern programs will also be given during the year. Miss Helen Ledger will act as associate music chairman and Mrs. W.K. Chambers will serve as hostess.

Syracuse American
(New York)
July 28, 1935
Cadenza
… King Lan (Caroline Chew) is an American-born Oriental who interprets the art of many nations through the dance.

Independent and Times
(New Paltz, New York)
August 29, 1935
Lyceum Course for Coming Season
Monday, Feb. 3—Caroline Chew

Kingston Daily Freeman
(New York)
September 2, 1935
New Paltz, Sept. 2— … The program for the Lyceum courses to be held In the Normal School auditorium the coming season are as follows: … February 3, Caroline Chew.

Argonaut
September 27, 1935
One whom we regard as an ideal interpreter of artistic dancing is Caroline Chew, the young Chinese Californian who was seen in recital at the Community Playhouse last Friday evening. Spontaneity of muscular action, lack of affectation, graceful vitality, historical accuracy of interpretation, no superfluous or meaningless gestures and no inadequacy of costumes combined to justify the enthusiasm which a capacity audience generously accorded.

Here was a happy combination of the simplicity and grace of the old with the picturesqueness and originality of the new, the latter at no time offending refined and conventional natures. We understand Miss Chew makes and designs her own costumes and thereby shows a deep knowledge of the various nationalities represented in her versatile terpsichorean interpretations.

A genuinely youthful appearance and an irresistible charm of personality form another valuable asset of Miss Chew. Chinese, Burmese, Persian, Japanese, Javanese and Nautch dances of India as well as modern interpretations including an Ecclesiastical Suite, a Preludium by Gershwin, Bacchanale, Night (unaccompanied by music), and a Rustic Interlude by Karganoff made up this program of contrasts.

Independent and Times
(New Paltz, New York)
October 3, 1935
New Paltz Lyceum Course
Monday, Feb. 5—Caroline Chew
The only Chinese woman dancer in America. Pupil of Stuart, Biggerstaff. Kreutzberg, Ito and Chow Kai Ming.

Her rare beauty, charming manner and vivid personality have made her every appearance enthusiastically received. In her Oriental numbers, she has taken great care to have her costumes authentic. These presentations are a revelation to American audiences, as they represent traditional Chinese melodies and rhythms with all their old-world glamor and magnificence.

In s typical program, Miss Chew dances, among other things, a traditional Chinese sword dance, Chinese, Cambodia and Javanese prints, a Debussy Nocturne and a scene from India.

New York Post
December 13, 1935
Lucienne Boyer in New “Continental Varieties”
French Entertainer Returning to Broadway the Day After Christmas for a Holiday Stay at the Masque
The Christmas Week opening list along Broadway, which already includes Katharine Cornell in “Romeo and Juliet,” Helen Hayes in “Victoria Regina,” Elissa Landi in “Tapestry in Gray,” a new George White’s “Scandals” and several other promising entries, has been enlarged by the addition of Lucienne Boyer, the French chanteuse, who will come in off the road in “Continental Varieties of 1936” for a short holiday engagement at the Masque Theatre starting Thursday, December 26.

… Mlle. Boyer is surrounded this season by a different troupe of supporting artists, and reports from Boston, which saw the show not so long ago, indicate that the new edition is an improvement on the original of last year.

According to the ecstatic billing accorded the production in the provinces, the assisting performers include Pils and Tabet, “Parisian duetists” thrillingly known as “two villains in verse”; Georges Andre Martin, Gallic master of ceremonies and wit, a gentleman who also does magic tricks with what the management calls “dancing fingers”; Helen Gray and the Rocky Twins, well-known Broadway night club figures, who indulge in what the advance notices term “proximity dancing”; King Lan Chew (translated as “the last orchid”), Oriental dancer; and Volpin’s Continental Quartet, a Gypsy band. …

New York Post
December 18, 1935
“Continental Varieties of 1936” comes into the Masque Theatre for a holiday engagement with Lucienne Boyer, the French chanteuse, as its leading figure, and a supporting company including Pils and Tabet, George Andre Martin, Helen Gray, the Rocky Twins and King Lan Chew, Oriental dancer.

Oakland Tribune
(California)
December 22, 1935




















Mixes Knitting, Dancing

Caroline Chew, acclaimed as only authentic Chinese woman dancer in America, can knit a sweater as well as she can interpret graceful, mystic Oriental dance. At left she is seen in Chinese dance costume and at right as she spent a few minutes of relaxation at her knitting in Oakland home. Miss Chew leaves for New York tomorrow.

Caroline Chew Packs Dance Costumes for New Trip East
A piquant, vivacious little person, Caroline Chew, packed up her dozen or more dance costumes today and prepared for her second trip to New York tomorrow … a trip which means new glamor, new experiences and the probability of a European engagement next year.

Last March when Miss Chew went to Manhattan for her Town Hall debut New York didn’t know much about the Bay region’s “Last Orchid”—for that is the translation of her Chinese given name—King Lan.

But this time it’s different. She’s pretty well booked up in advance. Two weeks at the Masque Theater on Broadway, opening a week from today with Lucienne Boyer, French dancer, in “Continental Varieties.” then six weeks on the road—Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Buffalo, a dozen other cities—and back home.

Talks of Her Art

Today, attired in a flowing Chinese costume which she admits she wears at home because people who come to see her sort of expect it, she settled down in a chair at the modest home she occupies about herself and her art. But what she said had little to do with herself; it was mostly about her art.

And concerning this art, Caroline Chew has very definite ideas:

First, of course, she seeks perfection. Otherwise, she could not have earned the accolades of blasé New York critics when she made her Town Hall debut. Then, frankly, she seeks praise and recognition—recognition of the lay public, yes, bit more than that even, the acclaim of those in her own profession.

The dance, to a layman, is an abstract, esoteric art form, deriving its subtlety from the fact that it verges closely upon the incomprehensible. There are though, the concrete manifestations of this abstract form. Art, for instance, can dissolve boundaries of racial misunderstanding, Miss Chew firmly believes. And thereby hangs the story of a daughter who is carrying on her late famed father’s campaign for racial amity, in a manner which never met his hearty approval perhaps, but nevertheless carrying it on.

Aspirant for Priesthood

Ng Poon Chew was an aspirant to the Buddhist priesthood before he learned English, embraced the christian religion and came to San Francisco to found the first Chinese newspaper in America and spent his life lecturing in the cause of interracial friendship. Four years ago he died.

“There are no racial barriers in the arts,” says his daughter, “In my Oriental dances I seek to show how age-old dance forms of the East are reflected in modern creations. However, I seek to keep from Orientalizing other dances—European peasant members for example.”

Miss Chew wants to keep from “trading” on the name of her father.

“I know that’s difficult to keep away from,” she declared. “But I want to stand on my own feet, make my own way.”

Regarding Miss Chew’s background, a few moments with her show up the ridiculousness of early stories which painted her as a young rascal of San Francisco Chinatown streets who suddenly skyrocketed to fame in New York after a few San Francisco and Eastbay appearances. Back of her are parents and grandparents of intelligence and education. She went from the comparative shelter of a well-ordered home to Mills College where she studied and took a degree in music—“because my father did not believe I should study dancing and I wanted an outlet of some sort.”

Gave His Consent

But as time went on, Ng Poon Chew became convinced that his pretty daughter, who had talked of little besides dancing since she was 8 years old, was sincere and willing to strain for the top rung of her art. Then, though he never became enthusiastic about the idea, he gave his consent and Caroline studied with Mei Lan-fang, Kreutzberg and Biggerstaff.

Two years ago the young dancer appeared in a program at International House. William E. Chamberlain saw her and told her she should have a manager. He got the position and still handles her affairs on this end of the continent.

What does a dancer do when she’s spending a few quiet winter months at home? If the dancer is Miss Chew she studies and exercises first of all, several hours daily; then she knits for herself and cooks, French, English, Chinese dishes—they’re all the same—except that she enjoys cooking most when she does it according to a brand new, untried recipe.

None of the other members of the Chew family ever succumbed to theatrical ambitions—one brother is an engineer, a sister teaches school and another sister is a social worker. But there will be plenty of interest in things theatrical and artistic in the home on Shafter Avenue during the next two months while King Lan Chew, the Last Orchid, initiates Broadwayites in the mysteries of Oriental dance.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
December 22, 1935
“Continental Varieties”
Lucienne Boyer, Continental singing star, will be seen in Washington for one dat only, January 5, heading the cast of “Continental Varieties,” which will play a matinee and evening performance at the National theater that day.

… Others in the “Continental Varieties” cast are Pils and Tabet, Parisian duettists; Georges-Andre Martin, master of ceremonies; Helen Gray and the Rocky Twins, “proximity dancers”; King Lan Chew, Oriental dancer, and Iza Volpin’s Continental Quartet.

New York Post
December 26, 1935
Opening Tonight
“Continental Varieties of 1936” comes into the Masque Theatre tonight for a holiday engagement, with Lucienne Boyer, the French chanteuse, and a supporting company including Pils and Tabet, George Andre Martin, Helen Gray, the Rocky Twins and King Lan Chew.

Chinese Digest
December 27, 1935
Caroline Chew Leaves
Miss Caroline Chew, prominent Chinese dancer of the Bay Region, left last week for New York City, where she has a feature engagement scheduled in “Continental Varieties.”

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
December 27, 1935




















Dancer
King Lan Chew, Oriental dancer, is one of the stars of “Continental Varieties,” which will be seen at the National Theater in a matinee and evening performance for one day only, January 5.

New York Post
December 27, 1935
Boyer Opens at Masque
French Chanteuse Returns in “Continental Varieties of 1936”
The Parisienne songstress, Lucienne Boyer, having charmed the whole of Europe, and last season quite successfully won over a goodly portion of New York with two editions of the “Continental Varieties” and prolonged appearances in various night clubs about the city, wisely brought the “Continental Varieties of 1936” last night to the Masque Theatre for only a week’s engagement. We say wisely, for we have an idea Mile. Boyer knew in her own heart that that would be about as long as this show could last.

It seems a shame that entertainments designed for short engagements and for the enticing of the none too critical eyes and ears of holiday visitors with money in their pockets and nothing on their minds but the spending of it, should have to be dull. And yet, they generally are. These varieties are no exception.

Gathering about her such entertainers as those singing boys, Pils and Tabet; the dancing Rocky Twins, Paal and Leif, who now have taken on a third member, Helen Gray; a Chinese dancer, King Lan Chew (don’t let the name fool you—it’s a girl); Iza Volpin’s Continental Ensemble, she allows these people to be laboriously led through their paces by a slightly confused master-of-ceremonies, Georges-Andre Martin. …

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
December 29, 1935
Continental Varieties
Headed by the French songstress, Lucienne Boyer, Henry Carson’s “Continental Varieties of 1936” will appear for the first time in Washington at the National Theater next Sunday afternoon and night under the local management of the T. Arthur Smith Bureau.

… Supporting Miss Boyer is a stellar group of internationally famous artists including Pils and Tabet, Parisian duelists; Georges-Andre Martin, master of ceremonies; Helen Gray and the Rocky Twins, “proximity” dancers; King Lan Chew, Oriental dancer, and Iza Volpin’s Continental quartet. …

Syracuse Journal
(New York)
December 29, 1935
Chinese Dancer to Appear Here
The appearance of King Lan Chew, American born Chinese dancer, on the winter program of the Civic Music Association, promises to be of interest to all lovers of the artistic. She will dance in Lincoln auditorium Feb. 7.

A native of San Francisco, Calif., and a graduate of Mills College, Miss Chew has set out to interpret the art of the world in dance. She is an accomplished pianist, but dance is her passion, and she has studied under the world’s best masters, taking the Pacific Coast by storm before seeking a wider field in the East.

Syracuse American
(New York)
January 26, 1936




















In Traditional Garb
A Cambodian costume, reproduced from an old print, is among those to be worn by Caroline Chew in the Chinese girls’ dance recital in Lincoln auditorium.

Oriental and Modern Dances Featured by Chinese Girl
Featured
Caroline Chew, the only Chinese woman dancer in America, will be presented by the Civic Music Association in a program of Oriental and modern dances Friday evening, Feb. 7, at Lincoln auditorium.

American-born, in San Francisco, the child of a distinguished Chinese family, her desire to become a professional dancer met with opposition. Her remarkable talent won out and for the past three years she has appeared on the Pacific Coast with sensational success. She has studied her art with Stuart, Biggerstaff, Kreutzberg, Ito and Chow Kai Ming, the celebrated Chinese dancer who came to America with the Chinese actor, Mei Lang Fang [sic].

Her father, Ng Poon Chew, founded the first Chinese newspaper in the United States and became well-known as a lecturer on racial amity. Caroline or King Lan (The Last Orchid) is a graduate of Mills College, where she majored in music and composition. She is an accomplished pianist.

In the dance world this exquisite little Chinese girl is a storm center. The critics and those familiar with the traditions of the Orient agree that she adheres faithfully to everything oriental, not only in the matter of subtle significance but in costume as well. Among the moderns, however, there is violent discussion of her technic. Those of the Wigman-Graham School declare she is not modern at all. Others proclaim her as ideally modern with an art free from extravagance.

To which Miss Chew replies when accused of trying to establish a new dance form: “That is a little in the future yet. I am only convinced that no matter what means are employed to bring art up to date those means must always remain fundamentaly [sic] simple and sound.”

Eagle-Bulletin
(Fayetteville, New York)
January 30, 1936
King Lan Chew to Dance Next Friday
Fayetteville—Local patrons of the arts are awaiting with deep interest the coming to Syracuse of King Lan Chew—the only Chinese woman dancer in America. Miss Chew, whose name, translated, means “the Last Orchid,” will present a program of oriental and modern dances at Lincoln auditorium, Friday evening, February 7 at 8:15.

The Syracuse Civic Music Association, an organization for the promotion of cultural activities in Syracuse and outlying districts, is sponsoring Miss Chew’s appearance. Further details ere available at the offices of the association, 405 Clark Music building.

Independent and Times
(New Paltz, New York)
January 30, 1936
Chinese Dancer Coming Next Monday
King Lan Chew, Chinese dancer, in Normal auditorium Monday, Feb. 3 at 8:15 in the evening. A Lyceum number
In Chinatown, San Francisco, they tell today of a Chinese little one skipping widely through the streets, attired in a bright tunic, her devil chaser tinkling incessantly. She was ever absorbed with her childish posturing, dancing, swaying like a tiny bamboo in the wind. That was little “Last Orchid”—in Chinese King Lan— daughter of Ng Poon Chew, who had been a candidiate for the Buddhist ministry in Canton, suddenly embraced Christianity and was sent to America to lecture on racial amity.

Now Last Orchid grown up, and exquisite as her name implies, is both a sensation in the dancing world, and a person in whom East and West do meet.

Those familiar with the traditions of the Orient, agree that in her Oriental dances, she adheres faithfully to tradition, not only in subtle significance, but in costume as well. Her programs include dances from China, Java, India, Japan and Cambodia.

She explains her modern dances by alluding to the ancientness of Chinese culture, saying that most ultra moderns are copying, without understanding their simplicity or their beauty, postures used by the Chinese hundreds of years ago. And modern art, she holds, must retain this fundamental soundness and simplicity. A dance set to Music by Gershwin created a furore when King Lan had her New York debut in Town Hall last year. Success has carried her from coast to coast. From Broadway where she was featured with Lucienne Boyer in her famous Continental Varieties, to the most austere concert halls, where she shares the series with Kreisler and the Don Cossacks.

And now in Chinatown they boast proudly of the little flower who has brought honor to her race as the only Chinese woman dancer in America.

New York Post
February 1, 1936
Dance Notes
King Lan Chew, Chinese dancer, will be seen in recital at the McMillin Theatre, Columbia University, Saturday evening, February 8. Music for the evening will include many Chinese traditional melodies beside music by Gershwin. Ornstein, Scriabin, Debussy, Milhaud, and others.

Syracuse American
(New York)
February 2, 1936
Dancer Zips Fast Changes in Costume
Friday night’s audience in Lincoln auditorium will see a succession of people. There will be the saucy little peasant, flirting gay skirts at an invisible swain; two Nautch girls, one abandoned and the other restrained in colorful and sensual motion; an exquisite figure from a Javanese print; a lithe young Chinese warrior brandishing a sword, and even a nun, making her own music in graceful, langorous [sic] motions. All these characters will be embodied in the art of a beautiful young Chinese girl, a dainty dancer they call King Lan Chew, or “The Last Orchid.”

King Lan, or Caroline, as she is known to friends in San Francisco, her home city, designs and makes her own costumes. They are evolved after months of research and are authentic copies from ancient prints as to color and design, and equipped with zippers.

“Only once did the zippers stick,” says Caroline, “and then it was a terrible struggle until an electrician came along and fixed
things with a pair of pliers. But in spite of this one disaster I think they’re the answer to the prayer of all performers who must make quick changes.”

The dancer will be accompanied at the piano by Pasquin Bradfield. Her first number, the traditional Chinese sword dance, will have percussion support. The old print delineations include a Chinese, Cambodian and Javanese portrayal with additional music, and two Japanese sketches by Yamada.

“Phantasm” will be danced to music by Gershwin; “Languor” and “Dynamic” to De Koven melodies; a “Nocturne,” by Debussy, “Corcovado,” by Milhaud. A dance she titles “Mo Kung Foo” and her closing “Sheung Gim” will be given to the beat of drums. Also in the final dance group will be included two “Scenes from. India,” a “Pastorale,” with composition by Crist, and a Nautch figure, to music by Strickland. King Lan Chew is being presented by the Civic Music Association in its concert series.

Independent and Times
(New Paltz, New York)
February 6, 1936
Chinese Dancer Please Many in Normal Auditorium
“Never mind the snow,” people seem to have said on Monday evening, for they flocked in gratifying numbers to the Normal auditorium to see the Chinese dancer King Lan Chew. The curtains parted to show the slight, exquisite Last Orchid, that is the meaning of King Lan, her given name. She danced first a Chinese Actor, to a traditional Chinese melody. The dancing suggested the ballet school, which holds that the spring of action is in the center of the back at the base of the spine. The music, presumably pentatonic, was certainly monotonous. But the Orientals are masters of color, and the colors, through the
program, were exquisite. After Chinese, Cambodian, Javanese and Burmese numbers, came one that created a furore when King Lan made her New York debut last year in Town Hall. In this she danced to Gershwin music, Phantasm, a grim little phantasm in black, against a red lighted background.

Then came an ecclesiastical suite, joyous Courante danced in rose; a Debussy nocturne, danced in purple, with gold shoes; then, sprightly and probably Spanish, Corcovado, by Milhaud.

Two Japanese sketches, two Hindu nautch dances, and the program’s close brought Last Orchid back to China, flourishing a knife in each hand with suave Oriental dexterity. Snickersnees, perhaps; anyway the dance was called Mu-Lan and the music was percussion. Prolonged and insistent applause brought forth several deep obeisances.

The strongest effect of the evening was an atmosphere of peace and restfulness. Sad, it probably seemed to some people. But we can sleep well without snoring and we can be awake without jazzing ourselves into a case of busy man’s heart. Out of a heritage of ancient culture, of tolerance and philosophies, King Lan evoked peace, not vacuous but like a tide.

“Too full for sound or foam,
When that which drew from out the silent deep
Turns again, home.”

Caroline Chew, Chinese dancer, who entertained at the Normal School Monday evening, spent the night, together with her party, in New Paltz at Tamney’s hotel.

Kingston Daily Freeman
(New York)
February 6, 1936
New Paltz Recital
New Paltz, Feb. 6.—The third number of the current Lyceum course was given Monday evening, February 3 in the Normal school auditorium, this was a program of interpretive dancing by King Lan Chew, the only Chinese woman dancer in America. For her program Miss Chew gave dances reflecting not only the traditions of her native land but of Java, Persia, Japan and India. In addition to these traditional dances the recital included some original modern dances set to the music of Gershwin, Milhand [sic], Scrialin [sic] and others. Miss Chew was graduated from Mills College where she received her M. A. in music. This step was in itself a distinct break from Chinese traditions concerning the place of women. She encountered parental objections and the ill will of others when she decided to become a dancer. Miss Chew studied under the outstanding teachers of the world and has taken instruction from such people as Ito, Chow Kai Ming, Biggerstaff and Kreutzberg. Miss Chew has appeared in recitals covering all of the United States and has been associated in performances with such artists as the Monte Carlo Ballet, Fritz Kreisler, the Don Cossack Chorus, which appeared in New Paltz last year and Nelson Eddy, baritone. Her program on Monday night was: Chinese Actor, Traditional melody; Cambodia, native melody: Javanese, Spencer; Burmese Figurine, native melody. Intermission. Phantasm, Gershwin. Ecclesiastical Suite: Renunciation, Ornstein; Supplication, Yamada; Benediction, Scriabine; Courante, Frescobaldi; Nocturne, Debussy; Corcovado, Milhand. Intermission. Two. Japanese sketches, Yamada; Nautch dances: In the Temple, Hoist, Gregor; At the Bazaar, Strickland; Mu-Lan, Percussion. Miss Chew’s accompanist was Louise Marleau. Costumes were by Miss Chew.

Syracuse Journal
(New York)
February 6, 1936










Chinese Girl Dancer Poses for Candid Camera Views

The Roosevelt administration, tennis, weight and diet were discussed by charming King Lan Chew, only Chinese woman dancer in America, this morning while The Journal photographer snapped these candid camera shots of her. Miss Chew, whose father was owner and publisher of the first Chinese newspaper in America, is in Syracuse in preparation for her dance recital in Lincoln auditorium Friday evening. She dislikes tap dancing, reluctantly admits that she hasn’t much use for President Roosevelt, and hopes to pay her first visit to China soon. A graduate of Mills College on the western coast, she is an accomplished pianist.

Hopes Soon to Make First Visit to China
Modern from her shining black hair to her high-heeled slippers, yet reminiscent of something old and fragile, King Lan Chew, only Chinese woman dancer in America, is a study in contrasts. A person of high culture, Miss Chew is a college graduate, an accomplished pianist and composer, and a recognized authority on costumes and culture of the Far East. She disregarded parental objections when she studied dancing, loves New York, is fond of tennis and swimming, and wants to learn to ice skate.

Never having been to China, she hopes some day to settle down there, at least long enough to “soak up” their way of living. She detests modern tap-dancing, while admitting that Eleanor Powell is “the tops” in that type of dancing. She wants to marry some day, and when she does, will give up dancing professionally to keep house.

Miss Chew, whose name translates “The Last Orchid,” arrived in Syracuse yesterday afternoon in preparation for her dance recital under auspices of the Syracuse Civic Music Association, Inc., Lincoln auditorium at 8:15 o’clock Friday evening. A pupil of Chow Kai Ming and the famous Ito and Kreutzberg, she combines the culture and refinement of the Orient with the western point of view in the matter of technique and presentation.

Slight and hardly more than five feet tall, Miss Chew at the age of 24 is being hailed from coast to coast as one of the outstanding dancers of modern times.

Of her preparation for a recital she said:

“At the present time, I’m more or less resting, but when I’m practicing, I study anywhere from three hours a day upwards. I don’t eat a thing on the day of my recitals, but sometimes drink a bowl of soup or cup of coffee. That’s one of the reasons I lose about five pounds on the day of a dance program. Of course, I may lose some of it dancing or wearing a particular costume, which weighs more than 15 pounds.”

Until three years ago, when she began giving recitals, Miss Chew had spent her entire life in San Francisco, where she now conducts a dance studio for men and women. Some day, she said, she hopes to teach dancing in China.

Syracuse Journal
(New York)
February 6, 1936













Albany Times-Union
(New York)
February 9, 1936
World of Music
On Wednesday evening, at the Albany Institute of History and Art, one of the most unique dance recitals of the year will be presented. King Lan Chew, Chinese dancer, with Louise Marlean at the piano, is the artist. Her  Albany public will see  a great many people. There will be a gay insolent little peasant flirting wide skirts at an invisible swain; two nautch girls, one abandoned and one restrained and both in colorful sensual motion; an exquisite figure from a Japanese print; a lithe young Chinese warrior brandishing a sword; even a nun moving slowly making her own music by unbelievably graceful and languorous motions.

But all these people will have one thing in common—they will all be a very beautiful and dainty young Chinese girl called “The Last Orchid”, or in Chinese, King Lan Chew. One of the recent sensations of the dancing world, this most unusual young Chinese is a strange mixture of East and West. Her father, Ng Poon CheW, was a candidate for the Buddhist ministry in Canton, when upon learning English, he suddenly embraced Christainity [sic] and was sent to America with his family as a lecturer on racial amity. Settling in San Francisco he established Chung Sai Yat Po, the first Chinese newspaper in America. It was here that little Ling Lan grew up.

Today they boast proudly of this “little flower” now grown up, for she is bringing honor to their race as the only Chinese woman dancer in America. And well may they be proud for King Lan is not only a dancer now hailed as establishing a new form of art, she is a college graduate with an M. A. degree, an accomplished pianist and composer, and a recognized authority on oriental costumes. King Lan designs and makes all her own costumes after months of research for design and color.

Syracuse Journal
(New York)
February 7, 1936














Syracuse Journal
(New York)
February 8, 1936
Chinese Girl Charms by Her Dances
The little Chinese girl, King Lan Chew, who was “so many people” in her dance recital at Lincoln auditorium last night, delighted a large audience with her charm and skill. With a different change of costume for every figure, all of them of her own designing, she flashed in myriad colors to music and percussion accompaniment furnished by her assistant, Louise Marleau.

Beauty and grace of hands and feet and swaying body as the Chinese actor in cerise headdress and blouse with tight blue satin trousers, introduced the purely oriental first group. Old prints of Chinese, Cambodian, in pagoda-like fancy of metal cloth; Javanese in long trailing draperies and a Burmese figureine [sic] in a stiff white jacket, red skirts and jingling brace- lets took on life and motion in wierd [sic] melodies and erratic beats of drum and gong.

Albany Times-Union
(New York)
February 13, 1936
Chinese Dancer at Institute of Art
King Lan Chew Appears in ‘Different’ Program
When the late Rudyard Kipling wrote “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” it was before the advent of King Lan Chew, only Chinese woman dancer in America, who appeared as one of the attractions of the Albany Institute of History and Art last night before an audience that was literally at the feet of this Oriental Ruth Draper. Translated, her name means “The Last Orchid,” and the American synonym best describes this exquisite artist, who brought the exotic dances from the Orient to her Occidental audience.

In appearance, she is a composite of Sylvia Sydney and Ana May Wong [sic] and her program last night was a varied and interesting one, combining the mysterious quality of the East with the sophistication of the Western Hemisphere.

Many of the handsome costumes were designed by King Lan Chew and the flashing colors of the Oriental embroideries were ravishing to the eye.

Much more than merely a dancer, she is a musician, comedienne, poet, and above all, a consummate actress. Her stage art, with its countless subtle variations of posture, differences in tempo and musical preparation build unfailingly toward creation of mood and character. She is the epitome of grace and on occasions the virility of her characters is praiseworthy.

Her dances include “Chinese Actor,” “Mu-Lan,” “Figurines,” “Indian Pastorale,“ two “Japanese Sketches,” “Javanese,” “Puppets,” “Old Prints,” two “Nautch” dances and a sword dance. Many of the dances were with percussion instruments and the piano accompaniments were played in a masterly way by Louise Marleau, who was an intergral [sic] part of the artistic whole at the piano.

Chinese Digest
April 3, 1936
Caroline Chew Returns from East
Caroline Chew, the prominent San Francisco girl dancer has returned to this city from a three-month tour of Eastern states.

Miss Chew went to New York, Chicago, and other cities to appear in concerts. She appeared in a featured role in the Continental Varieties on Broadway. The well-known dancer will remain ion concert in San Francisco as well as other California cities and in the Northwest.

Chinese Digest
May 22, 1936
Miss Caroline Chew, Chinese dancer who returned recently from the East on a dancing tour, has been reported in press dispatches to have been offered a part in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, “Good Earth.” It is believed that she will dance in the famous tea house scene in the picture.

The Saratogian
(Saratoga Springs, New York)
June 26, 1936
“The Good Earth,” which at this writing has been 98 days in production, gets a new actress—one Caroline Chew, who’ll dance.

Utica Observer-Dispatch
(New York)
July 18, 1936
“The Good Earth,” which at this writing has been 98 days in production, gets a new actress—one Caroline Chew, who’ll dance.

Chinese Digest
August 7, 1936




















Hollywood
Some Chinese talent at a party given by James Z.M. Lee. Left to right, Roland Got, Caroline Chew, ChingWah Lee, Mary Wong, James Z.M. lee, Soo Yong, William Law, Lotus Liu, and Frank Tang.

Cazenovia Republican
(New York)
August 27, 1936
Caroline Chew, an Oriental dancer, has been cast as Black Jade, who does the sword dance in the tea house scene of “The Good Earth.”

Interlaken Review
(New York)
September 4, 1936
Screen Stars
Caroline Chew, an Oriental dancer, has been cast as Black Jade, who does the sword dance in the tea house scene of “The Good Earth.”

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
October 4, 1936
New Series of Teas Arranged
A new series of artist teas has been announced by the Berkeley Women’s City Club, the first to present Caroline (King Lan) Chew, Chinese dancer who has recently completed an engagement in Hollywood. The tea will be given on Wednesday, October 21. The series of teas will feature the arts of dance, music, literature, and drama. …

… Caroline (King Lan) Chew was summoned from New York, where she was playing at Town Hall, to Hollywood to dance the Saber spectacle in MGM’s production of {The Good Earth.” She will include this dance in her program at the City Club tea together with a number of traditional dances and compositions by such un-Oriental composers as De Koven, Crist, Cyril Scott, and Beethoven. Miss chew will be accompanied by Gladys Steele, an artist in her own right, who was presented in the Artists’ Tea series last season.

Boston Herald Magazine
(Massachusetts)
December 13, 1936
They Uprooted Ancient China to a California Hillside
… Chinese in Cast
Today, nearing completion, the cast includes Paul Muni, as Wang Lung; Luise Rainer, a O’Lan; Walter Connolly, as the uncle; Charley Grapewin, as the father; Tilly Losch, as Lotus; Soo Young, as the Ancient Mistress; Ching Wa Lee, as Ching; Keye Luke, as the Eldest Son; Roland Got, as the Younger Son; Suzanne Kim, as the little sister; Wary Wong, as the bride; William Law, as the gateman; Phillson On, as the neighbor; Caroline Chew, as the tea house dancer; Betty Soo Hoo as the eldest son as a baby, and Harold huber, as the cousin. …

Puppetry 1937
Red Gate Players. Columbia University, New York, 4 December 1936. The Spider and the Dragon; The Dream Dancer; Festival in Peiping. All VIIc (2) 18-in. Animator and reader: Pauline Benton; Mistress of ceremonies: King Lan Chew; Musician: William Russell; Animator and reader: Lee Ruttle.

Sunset
January 1937
One of the very few Chinese dancers in the world, Caroline Chew appears in an international dance program at the Community Playhouse, S. F., Jan. 15.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
January 15, 1937
Recital Tonight by Chinese Dancer
Caroline Chew, Chinese dancer, will present dances of the Occident and the Orient in her recital tonight at the Community Playhouse. Her Oriental compositions are based upon Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Turkish, Filipino, Javanese, Indian, and Balinese themes.

The artist, daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, well known San Francisco editor, will be assisted by Gladys Steele, pianist, and Kathryn Woolf, flutist.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
April 20, 1937
East Bay Club Calendar
Twentieth Century Club—Spring luncheon, 1 p.m., program of Oriental and modern dances by Carolyn Chew [sic], clubhouse, Berkeley.

Chinese Digest
August 1937






















Chinatownia
King Lan Chew—Interpreter of the Dance
Sometimes first impressions are the most vivid, most lasting ones. Anyway, the writer who sat opposite the desk from the young lady gained several pleasant initial impressions of her outward personality.

First of all you notice her eyes. They are at once scintillating, provocative, alert, shining with intelligence and, as you talk to her, flashing with good humor. This last quality is more evident when she smiles and laughs. But behind the humorous sparkles of her eyes also lie seriousness and steady purpose. They are eyes which reflect the mind behind them.

Her mouth, which in another woman might be called large, in this case matches perfectly with the rest of the owner's features, for her face is almost completely round, like a full moon. And, of course, her hair is done in the traditional Chinese manner, being parted in the middle and brushed back behind the ears.

Such are some of the first impressions, mental and ocular, one gets on meeting Miss King Lan (Caroline) Chew, who is not only the premier but the one and only Chinese exponent of the pure dance in America today. This distinction she has won by virtue of love, years of hard work, and a good deal of business sense. In her the artist and the practical woman are one.

A recent picture of Miss King Lan Chew

To San Francisco Chinese, of course, King Lan Chew is no stranger, just as Anna May Wong of movie and stage fame is no stranger to her own people in Los Angeles. King Lan, or Caroline, as you prefer one or the other, is a native of San Francisco, and almost any Chinatownian can tell you something of her forebears and her early life here if you are interested. Her father was the late venerable Dr. Ng Poon Chew, journalist, Presbyterian preacher, and lecturer on Sino-American relations, one of those hardy pioneers whose names will remain indelibly in the annals of the Chinese in America. Dr. Chew did not, as is popularly believed, found the first Chinese daily newspaper in this country (see Chi. Dig., April 10, 1936) but he did launch one which is still in existence today. This is the Chung Sai Yat Po, born in 1900.

Several Children were born to Ng Poon Chew, the last to arrive being King Lan, whose name means the last orchid, being the name also of a relative. Her childhood was uneventful, and if she had any ambition toward the art of the dance, she kept it a deep secret. She received her share of American and Chinese education as did her sisters and conducted herself just as other Chinatownians did.

A Desire to Dance

But the last orchid was to blossom out differently than the parent stem wanted  her to . The germ of creativity, which obeys no law of heredity and is subject to no special environment, began to stir in King Lan’s heart when she was quite small. She wanted to dance. Her young limbs were eager to execute rhythmic movements and to whirl to the strains of vigorous occidental music, and her hands yearned to express the languorous music of the Orient.

So between her school studies King Lan took dance lessons. When her fond parents discovered that she was smitten with this strange desire, there was a stern disapproval. It was unthinkable that a daughter from a respectable and refined family should endanger the prestige of the family name by wanting to indulge in a pursuit which properly belonged to members of the Pear Orchard—the acting fraternity—whose sociall standing was considered none too high. However, some kind of compromise was worked out. In due time King Lan graduated from high school and went to Mills college, where she received a B.A. and M.A. in music and the social sciences.

Her formal education completed, King Lan made use of her knowledge of the social sciences by working as a visitor for the Associated charities. But her youthful ambition still burned within her; she continued to learn how to dance. her job palled on her soon enough and she gave it up.

But acquiring the technique of the various forms of dance was by no means easy, although King Lan’s ambition and love was in it. The free, natural bodily movements as expressed in all peoples in the dance have been suppressed in the Chinese woman for two thousand years, and it is not easy for the twentieth century daughter of Cathay to learn gracefulness and rhythm overnight.

A Renowned  Dancer Today

But today the nam of King Lan is known to dance audiences throughout the country, from New York to San Francisco. She is billed as the only Chinese concert dancer in America who has studied under Muriel Stuart, Ito, Kreutzberg, Tina Flade, Hanya Holms, and Chow Kai-ming. After some seven years of intensive training, during which she mastered the traditional dances of China, Java, Cambodia, Japan and india as well as occidental dances, she made her debut in San Francisco four years ago. Since then she has danced all the way to the East, where she shared in program series with such internationally famed attractions as the Monte Carlo ballet, the Don Cossack chorus, Fritz Kreisler, and others. She even invaded Broadway when she was featured with Lucienne Boyer in her “Continental Varieties.”

Critics everywhere have vied in praising her work. A new York critic wrote: “In her repertoire of ten traditional dances of China, Cambodia, Java, Japan, and India, Miss Chew conveyed swift patterned pictures of the orient. Her Chinese charm was obviously refreshing to the American esthetes. She has equipped herself with colorful costumes which she herself executed, has a nice sense of design, and uses her hands and arms beautifully.

“In her Occidental dances, she displayed considerable plastic gifts in response to the animating music of such composers as Gershwin, De Koven, Debussy, and Milhaud. In an unaccompanied impression called “Languor,” she was gratifying. In this sequence of the West, she ran the gamut of moods in five recitations: Phantasm, Languor, Dynamic, Nocturne, Corvocado, each displaying her litheness and dexterity in mastering conventional poses, rhythms, undulations.”

Miss Chew, for her study of the history of the dance, has come to the conclusion that the modern dance, having exhausted its possibilities for the time being, is now drawing new life from the ancient dance forms of the immemorial Orient. She subscribes to Spengler’s theory that culture occurs in cycles and bases her belief on this theory that the modern dance has completed its present cycle and must start with another one. Since Miss Chew happens to be familiar with both Oriental and Occidental dances, her theory carries considerable weight. She is continuing her study on the subject and hopes to ave sufficient material to write a volume on it.

Dance Offer Opportunities

Miss Chew also believes that the study of the dance offers good opportunities for Chinese girls of today, both as a mode of artistic expression and as a means of livelihood. But, she warned, such girls must be prepared foe years of hard work and sacrifices before they can hope to be true artists. She sounded this warning because she has seen many girls who had taken only a few lessons, made a few public appearances, and then considered themselves as accomplished dancers. Having struggled long herself, she is convinced that there is no easy path to accomplishment.

This fall King Lan will join the Red Gate shadow players in the East as Mistress of Ceremonies. She will be with this group for two seasons from October 1 to January 15, 1938, and again from April 15, to June 1, 1938. In her spare moments she hopes to continue her study of voice culture, the piano, musical instruments of various nations, stagecraft, and design.

After that she hopes to be able to take a short trip to Hawaii. if she ever gets there—and there was a note of determination in her voice as she said this—it is her fervent hope to proceed on to China, the ancestral hearth which she has yet to see but of which she has dreamt for years.

Sacramento Bee
(California)
September 18, 1937
Allied Arts Club Program Is Outlined
An opening dinner concert on October 15th and a schedule of monthly noon luncheon programs of music, drama and dancing on the fourth Monday of each month from October through May will make up the Season’s entertainment for the members of the Allied Arts Breakfast Club. …

… King Lan Chew, whose name means Last Orchid, said to be the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will present the program at the January 23rd luncheon. Traditional Oriental melodies, combined with the beauty and vivid personality of the dancer, make up an entertaining program.

Fresno Bee
(California)
October 3, 1937
Lecture Club Releases Year Program Plans
The Parlor Lecture Club, which opens activities for the year with a Thursday luncheon at the Hotel Fresno, plans to add a public speaking section this season as a new interest group for its members. …

… Special guests on the programs for the year will be … King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer …

Olean Times-Herald
(New York)
October 15, 1937
Only Chinese Concert Dancer To Appear Here
King Lan Chew On Program Of Red Gate Players Brought Here, October 25 By Women’s Division Of “Y”—Presentation At High School Auditorium.
Much of the interest aroused by the announcement that the Red Gate Players will give a performance in the auditorium of the Olean High School, Monday evening, October 25, at eight-fifteen o’clock, sponsored by the Board of Managers of the Women's Division of the Y. M. C. A., centers in the dancer, King Lan Chew, who has the distinction of being the only Chinese concert dancer in America.

Translated, King Lan Chew’s name means, “Last Orchid”. She is the daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, famous lecturer and founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in America. She herself is a college graduate with an M. A. degree, an accomplished musician, and a recognized authority on Far Eastern costumes and culture.

Miss Chew’s rare beauty, charming manner and vivid performance one of sheer beauty and delight. Residents of Olean who recently saw, “The Good Earth”, will be interested in learning that she was the exotic dancer in the Tea House scene of that remarkable picture play. She appeared also on Broadway in Lucienne Boyer’s famous “Continental Varieties”.

In these words King Lan Chew explains the dance in Chinese drama: “Long before opera was known in the West, China had the basic form of opera in use in the theatre. Music and dance were integral parts of every drama. The different characters had their special orchestral themes for their stage entrances and exits. Spear and sword battles were all performed to the accompaniment of a distinct rhythm from which has evolved a definite dance form.” Miss Chew has selected these different rhythms of ancient China and presents them in a series of performances which live with a vivid reality.

King Lan Chew, a pupil of Show Kai Ming [sic], Krouzberg [sic], and Hanya Holm, combines the culture and refinement of the Orient with the Western point of view in matters of technique and presentation. The result is not one of imitation. Those who have had the privilege of seeing her say that every dance burns with an inner conviction of authority.

The numbers which she will present will include a “Sword Dance”, which is the one she performed in “The Good Earth”; “A Chinese Scroll”: and the vigorous “Chinese Theatrical Piece”.

Tickets for the performance of the Red Gate Players, a program which includes in addition to Miss Chew’s dancing fascinating Chinese shadow plays and Chinese music played upon rare Oriental musical instruments, may be purchased at the Y. M. C. A. Palmquist’s Jewelry Store, F. H. Oakleaf’s Book Store, and from John L. Rolfe, optometrist.

Olean Times-Herald
(New York)
October 18, 1937
Red Gate Players Will Present Treat in their Chinese Shadow Plays
Parchment Figures Present Realistic Appearance in Military and Civil Offerings; Music and Dancing Also on Program Sponsored by Women’s Division.
The Red Gate Players, scheduled for an appearance at the Olean High School auditorium on the evening go Monday, October 25, will bring a rare treat to Olean in their presentation of Chinese shadow plays, it was said today. The local appearance is under the sponsorship of the Women’s Division of the Y.M.C.A.

The actors of the shadow stage are gaily colored parchment figures, hundreds of them, performing fantastic feats, moving and dancing across the screen with surprisingly realistic, yet stylized movements. The plays may be said to be the ancestor of our technicolor. The figures are created by Chinese craftsmen who spare no pains in seeing that they conform to the convention of China’s classical theatre. The Red Gate Players have a large collection of these shadow actors and plays, and this is the only group in America trained and versed in this rare branch of the theatre.

There are several Olean residents who are acquainted with Miss Pauline Benton, founder and organizer of the troupe, and this adds to the local interest in the coming of her players. Miss Benton saw the shadow plays first in China and recognized at once their appeal to American audiences as a means of interpreting Chinese life.

At a later time she returned to China and spent some time studying with the official shadow player of the late Empress Dowager’s court. Miss Benton also had opportunity to watch performances by different companies of actors in the small villages of North China, where the plays are still popular entertainment with the country people. In the present upset condition of China the fate of the o!d shadow players and their art is uncertain.

The Chinese plays are in two groups: military and civil, in the former classification there are lively spear and sword battles in  which the heavenly forces of gods, demons and dragons come to the aid of the warriors. Most of these plays are symbolic of the struggle between Good and Evil, the Good forces always being victorious.

In the civil plays there are romances aplenty. There are scenes depicting the colorful life of a Peking street: wedding processions, street vendors with their strange street cries, and the festival time mufflers, acrobats and lion dancers. The characters all introduce themselves in the manner of the Chinese theatre. The male characters entered with vigorous strides, arms swinging, while the ladies walk across the stage with a delicious swaying motion.

With it ail there will be the accompaniment of haunting music played on Chinese instruments, and the exquisite dances performed by King Lan Chew, the Chinese concert dancer.

Tickets for the performance may be purchased at the F. H. Oakleaf Book Store, Palmquist’s Jewelry Store, at the Y. M. C. A and John L. Rolfe’s.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
October 19, 1937
Hamlins Plan at Home to See Chinese Group
Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey J. Hamlin have issued invitations for an at home the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 26, when they will present the Red Gate Players of Peiping, China, in a program of dances, music and shadow plays.

Miss King Lan Chew, Chinese dancer in the “Good Earth,” will perform the 2000-year-old sword dance and will act as mistress of ceremonies. Traditional melodies will accompany the plays and Miss Chew’s dances. Rare and beautiful Chinese instruments will be used.

The animation and dialogue are by Miss Pauline Denton and Mr. Lee Ruttle. Miss Denton is the founder and organizer of the troup [sic].

Under the sponsorship of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences a number of other plays and dances will be presented by the Player* at 3 o’clock that afternoon in the museum.

Olean Times-Herald
(New York)
October 20, 1937
Authentic Chinese Music to Feature Performance
Instruments of Oriental Origin Used by Red Gate Players, Here Monday Music played on Chinese instruments will be one of the unusual featured of the program to be presented in the auditorium of the Olean High School, Monday evening, at eight-fifteen o’clock by the Red Gate Players, a member of the Women’s Division of the Y.M.C.A. sponsors announced today.

The musical accompaniment is perfectly synchronized with the shadow plays and the dances performed by Miss King Lan Chew. This part of the program has been arranged by William Russell, a talented musician, a student of Oriental music and a member of this group of players.

Mr. Russell has collected instruments from China and has studied with Chinese musicians so that he is well able to reader the authentic and traditional melodies in arrangements that please the Western ear.

The tones of a violin played on two strings may sound weird and amusing at first, but as one becomes accustomed to it and sees Mr. Russell and Miss Chew play several of the instruments during the intermission they attain more charm. There is a variety of sounds for several melodic instruments such as the flute, violin, moon-guitar and yang-chin are used, in addition to various percussion instruments.

The drums, gongs and cymbals, which are used to accompany the battles scenes of the shadow plays and Miss Chew’s warrior dances, carry a distinct and fascinating rhythm. The audience can soon recognize the type of entrance. A deep and rapid gong announces the appearance of a warrior, a slow beat that of an old man or scholar, and lighter pitched gong the arrival of a young lady. This musical background is proof that the Chinese have a true idea of the theatre as a perfect synchronization of all the arts.

Tickets for the performances of the Red Gate Players may be purchased at the Y.M.C.A., from John L. Rolfe, at F.H. Oakleaf’s Book Store, and Palmquist’s Jewelry Store.

Bolivar Breeze
(New York)
October 21, 1937
Chinese Drama and Culture Will Be Presented
Through the women’s division of the YWCA, Olean will be host to the Red Gate players who will give an entertainment of Chinese music, dancing and drama Monday evening at 8 o’clock in the auditorium of the new Olean High school. Mrs. Howard O. Platt of Bolivar is in charge of ticket sales in Bolivar.

Mistress of ceremonies will be King Lan Chew, lovely Chinese dancer, who had a part in the movie production, “The Good Earth.” Featuring the entertainment will be the Shadow Play, one of China’s most ancient dramatic forms, which will portray Chinese folk plays, love stories and legends. Interpretive dancing by Miss Chew and exotic Chinese music will also be part of the presentation.

Portville Review
(New York)
October 21, 1937
Red Gate Players to Appear in Olean
The Women’s Division of the Y. M. C. A. of Olean is sponsoring a performance by the Red Gate Players the evening of October 25, at 8:15 o’clock in the auditorium of the Olean High School.

Shadow plays, in which the actors are gaily colored figures fashioned from donkey skin parchment by expert Chinese craftsmen and richly costumed, will be one of the outstanding features of the. evening’s program. The dialogue is in English and the plays are both military and civil.

Appearing with the Rod Gate Players will be Miss King Lan Chew the only Chinese concert dancer in America, who will repeat the ancient and traditional “Sword Dance” which she performed in the picture play “The Good Earth” and in addition two dances called “Chinese Theatrical Piece” and “A Chinese Scroll.”

Chinese music arranged and synchronized by William Russell, a studeent [sic] of Oriental music, will be played upon unique Chinese musical instruments.

Tickets for the performance may be purchased in Olean at the F. H. Oakleaf Book Store, Palmqulst’s Jewelry Store, the Y. M. C. A., from Pohn L. Rolfe, Optometrist and at the door.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
October 22, 1937
Spotlight
Miss King Lan Chew, Chinese dancer who did the sword dance in “The Good Earth,” will appear with the Red Gate Players at the Buffalo Museum of Science next Tuesday afternoon in a program presenting the highlights of Chinese theater art.

p39 c8: Chinese Dancer to Appear in Program at Museum
Said to be the only Chinese concert dancer in the United States, Miss King Lan Chew, Chinese dancer, will appear with the Red Gate players in their free program of Chinese theater art in the Buffalo Museum of Science at 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon.

Miss Chew, a college graduate, a musician and an authority on the customs of the Far East, appeared an the motion picture, “The Good Earth.”

Olean Times-Herald
(New York)
October 22, 1937
Red Gate Players Said to Refute Portion of Familiar Old Saying
Occidental, Oriental Artists Combine in Presenting Entertaining Performance.
“For East is East, and West is West,” but the Red Gate Players refute the statement, “and never the twain shall meet,” it was said today by a member of the Women’s Division of the Y. M. C. A. The Players will appear here Monday evening, at eight-fifteen o’clock, at the Olean High School auditorium.

In their performance, American and Chinese artitsts [sic] unite to present Eastern art to a western audience.

Although the Players have never before appeared in Olean, they have accepted engagements at Buffalo several years in succession, and are favorably known from coast to coast, as is indicated in newspaper reviews.

Especially has King Lan Chew, who will appear in Chinese dance numbers, as well as acting in the role of mistress of ceremonies, received favorable comment.

Mrs. J.L. Rolfe, general chairman, who has had the opportunity of seeing the Red Gate Players in action, stated today that the Women’s Division was particularly fortunate in being able to book the troupe which has delighted audiences in so many American cities.

Olean Times-Herald
(New York)
October 23, 1937
Red Gate Players to Appear Here
A theatrical performance by the Red Gate Players of New York City will be held Monday evening October 25 at the Olean High School auditorium. The Y.M.C.A. is sponsoring the entertainment.

King Lan Chew, charming Chinese concert dancer, will be Mistress of Ceremonies, and she will introduce the shadow plays which are a form of ancient art. During intermission, music will be played on beautiful Chinese instruments.

This performance is different from the usual pleasures and it promises to be a fascinating experience for those who attend.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
October 24, 1937




















Shadow Plays and Dances in Museum Hall
Red Gate group will present novel program here next Tuesday
King Lan Chew, who has the distinction of being the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will appear on the stage with the Red Gate Players in their program of Chinese theater art at the Buffalo Museum of Science Tuesday afternoon at 3 o’clock. She assumes the double role of mistress of ceremonies and Chinese dancer.

The Red Gate Players bring a performance of highlights of the Chinese theater which includes the dance, music, and shadow plays. The cast is composed of both Chinese and Americans.

In Traditional Dances

Miss Chew gives Sheung Gin, the 2.000-year-old traditional Sword Dance which she performed in The Good Earth, a dance symbolical of Prince Li killing the dragon. She also apepars [sic] at one time as a delicate maiden who sways like a graceful willow in A Chinese Scroll and
again as a young warrior in the quick, virile movements of the sword dances.

Daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, famous lecturer on racial amity and founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in America. Miss Chew is a colelge [sic] graduate with a M. A. degree, an accomplished musician.

The Players, who are the only group in America presenting this ancient art, will give three shadow plays, each an integral part of the performance. Actors of the shadow stage are gaily colored parchment figures, hundreds of them, who perform fantastic feats, move, and dance across the screen with surprisingly realistic and at the same time stylized movements. They are created by Chinese craftsmen.

Two Groups of Plays

Chinese plays are divided into two groups, military and civil. In the military plays there are lively battles. Most of them are symbolic of the struggle between Good and Evil. In the civil plays there are romances in which the naive lovers make their escape from irate parents in a boat, or a beautiful woman so beguiles the king of a neighboring kingdom with her charm as to bring ruin to his realm.

The shadow plays and dances are all accompanied by music, played on rare Chinese instruments, for which William Russell, specialists in comparative musicology is responsible.

Pauline Benton is the founder and organizer of the troupe. She and Lee Ruttle take care of the animation and dialogue of the plays.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
October 26, 1937
Red Gate Players to Offer Three Productions at Museum
The RedGate Players, the only group in America trained in presenting Chinese shadow plays, will interpret Chinese life through a program of Chinese theater art at the Buffalo Museum of Science this afternoon at 3 o’clock.

Dances by Miss King Lan Chew, who danced in The Good Earth, will be presented as well as three shadow plays. Chinese music by William Russell on native instruments will accompany the dances and plays. Miss Pauline Benton, founder and organizer of the troupe, and Lee Ruttle will do the animation and dialogue.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
October 26, 1937
Shadow Plays.
Miss King Lan Chew, who danced in “The Good Earth,” dances with the Red Gate players at the Buffalo Museum of Science this afternoon, you know, and three examples of the shadow play, a Chinese diversion of great antiquity, will be offered by the Red Gate troupe, the only group in America versed in this rare branch of the theater.

Olean Times-Herald
(New York)
October 26, 1937
Players Are Pleasing to Large Group
Shadow Plays, Chinese Dances And Music Afford Interesting Evening.
The Red Gate Players of Pei­ping and New York made their bow to an Olean audience gathered in the auditorium of the High School Monday night, an audience that was appreciative of the program presented by this unique theatrical troupe.

King Lan Chew acting as Mistress of Ceremonies throughout the performance made printed programs unnecessary, and her words of introduction and explanation added to the pleasure of the evening.

There were many in the audience who were curious about what a shadow play would be like and certainly they could not have been introduced to this ancient art under more fortunate circumstances than they were last night, for the delicate figures which were the actors and actresses in the shadow plays presented by the Red Gate Players, figures carved from donkey skin parchment, were highly colored and beautifully costumed.

The first “piece”, Street Scene in Peiping, bring into action figures representing street vendors, lion dancers, barbers, old and modern vehicles, etc., was interesting both from the color and sound angles.

The two longer shadow plays, “The Burning of the Bamboo Grove∏, and “The Cowherd and the Maiden”, stories whose origin is lost in antiquity, were dramatic and full of unusual effects, the most picturesque of which was, perhaps, the realistic burning of the Grove. The colors were at all times, pleasing to the eye but were particularly lovely in “The Cowherd and the Maiden”.

Too much cannot be said for the dances of Miss King Lan Chew. Her art was at the same time highly stylized and dramatic, and her costumes added to the exquisite beauty of her performance. She interpreted the art of China in such a manner that her audience would have enjoyed additional dance numbers.

The music played upon antique and modern Chinese musical instruments both as a musical setting for the shadow plays and as a feature in itself when performed on the stage by Miss Chew and William Russell intrigued the curiosity of the audience to such an extent that at the conclusion of the performance many persons availed themselves of the privilege of going backstage to examine the instruments and to hear Mr. Russell’s interesting explanation of their function in producing the music that is distinctly Chinese.

The manipulation of the “puppets” in the shadow plays was so skillful that it was hard to believe that it was the work of such a limited number of manipulators. The Red Gate Players, organized by Miss Pauline Benton, have in their number in addition to her. Miss Chew, William Russell and Lee Ruttle.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
October 27, 1937




















Chinese Drama Is Depicted in Shadow Plays
Red Gate Players present unique performance at Buffalo Museum of Science
Before an audience of some 700 persons, the Red Gate Players gave a performance of Chinese dramatic arts yesterday in the Buffalo Museum of Science, which undoubtedly was unique in theatrical presentations here this season.

Shadow plays, which are said to date back to 151 B.C., were given, with Miss Pauline Benton and Lee Ruttle as operators. The plays are said to have originated when a Han Dynasty Emperor commanded a magician to bring back the soul of his departed wife. Ancient Chinese believed the shadows actually were souls. William Russell accompanied the plays with Chinese music.

King Lan Chew. Chinese concert dancer, whose name in English is Last Orchid, performed classical Chinese dances, some of which are 2,000 years lod [sic]. She gave the sword dance she did in the motion picture, The Good Earth.

The shadow plays are presented with numerous animated figures made of donkey skin parchment, which are painted by hand.

Th^ figures are moved like puppets behind an illuminated screen, while the dialogue is spoken by the operators. The dialogue is highly poetic and the simple beauty of the lines heightens the drama played by the moving figures.

After the strangeness of the performance wears off the queer rules of Chinese drama are forgotten and exquisitely beautiful stories are enfolded.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
October 27, 1937
700 See Chinese Dancer
King Lain Chew Brandishes Weapon in Ancient Sword Dance.
Brandishing two massive swords, Miss King Lan Chew, native Chinese dancer of San Francisco, executed the 2000-year-old sword dance of the Chinese war lords Tuesday afternoon before a group of 700 Buffalonians in Museum of Science auditorium. Accompanied by three fellow artists, Miss Chew presented a program of eight dances.

Weaving in and out in the defensive and protective measures of the traditional dance, which Miss Chew presented in the motion picture The Good Earth in the teahouse scene, the petite dancer completely fascinated her audience. Several other of her numbers were players.

The animation and dialogue were handled by Miss Pauline Benton, founder of the troup [sic] which is known as the Red Gate players. William Russell was accompanist.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
(Virginia)
October 28, 1937
Chinese Players to Come Here
Presidents of several organizations of the city have been invited to attend the annual club day of Richmond Section, National Council of Jewish Women, to be held at 3 o’clock next Tuesday afternoon in the Sabbath school rooms of Temple Beth Ahabah.

The Red Gate Players of New York and Peiping will present “Highlights of the Chinese Theatre.” They are the only group in America presenting the ancient art of the shadow play. King Lan Chew will dance and act as mistress of ceremonies. She will present the “Sword Dance.” Music will be played on Chinese instruments.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
(Virginia)
November 3, 1937




















King Lan Chew strums a moon-guitar

Chinese Girl Last Word in Modernity
Miss “Last Orchid” is the last word in modernity. Her name, which is so flowerlike translated into English, is in Chinese, King Lan Chew. She is a concert dancer, and she danced for the Council of Jewish Women yesterday evening at the Temple Beth Ahabah, appearing with the Red Gate Shadow Players.

To watch Miss Chew in her flowing robes and head-dress, as she moves through a traditional Chinese dance, her hands fluttering like butterflies, you would think that here is the Chinese girl of the legends, the delicate creature who is so much a part of China’s past. Talk to her, and you’ll find an alert, up-to-the-minute college graduate. Miss Chew isn’t a Chinese girl of the past; she belongs to the present day.

Miss Chew was born in California. Her parents came from the Canton province, but she has never been in China, though she speaks Cantonese. She is a graduate of Mills College in California.

She really prefers modern dances to those of the Orient. “Modern dancing gives you so much more freedom,” she said in her perfect English. “Some of the movements in modern dancing have been taken from the Orient—the movement of the torso, and the deep plies, the step in which you bend your knees. But some things about Oriental dancing, the movements of the hands for instance, have become so stylized that there is more freedom for expression in the modern dances.”

“But I love the oriental dances,” she hastened to add, “for their beauty and the stories they tell.”

Miss Chew spoke of Madame Chiang Kai-Chek [sic] , wife of China’s generalissimo, who figures so prominently in Chinese public life. Madame Chiang Kai-Chek is herself a Welllesley girl.

“The Chinese have a saying,” she smiled, “that goes, ‘Man is made of clay, but woman is made of water, and water permeates and moulds clay.’ Women have always been powerful in China. Even before the republic, there were women who were the real rulers of China. Oh, they pretended to be soft and yielding, but they were the rulers just the same. Men have always done things because some woman willed them to do it.”

Miss Chew went after her dancing career with all the determination of a compatriot of these clever women she spoke of. “I was always eager to go on the stage,” she said, “but my family wouldn’t hear of it. Dancing, or anything connected with the stage, was something that girls of nice Chinese families just didn’t do. They let me study music, because that was a parlor accomplishment. But I insisted on dancing, and I kept studying, so they finally saw it was useless to protest any longer.”

Miss Chew planned to visit China this summer, but the outbreak of the Chinese-Japanese war kept her away. “I should like to visit China, to study,” she said. “I wouldn’t like to live there. I don’t think that any one who has lived in America could be comfortable in China.

“But the women there are very up-to-date; possibly more modern than here in America,” she declared. And watching Miss Chew’s pretty Oriental face, and listening to her snappy, American conversation, you could well believe it.

Greensboro Daily News
(North Carolina)
November 10, 1937
Chinese Dancer Is to Appear in Dual Role
King Lan Chew, who has the distinction of being the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will take dual role of mistress of ceremonies and dancer when the Red Gate Players appear at the A. and T. college gymnasium at 8:15 o’clock this evening. The troupe will present a varied interpretation of the Chinese theater, including the unique shadow plays peculiar to the Chinese stage.

Albany Times-Union
(New York)
November 13, 1937
Association to Sponsor Production
The Albany branch of the A. A. U. W. is sponsoring a Chinese theatrical performance presented by the Red Gate Players of New York city on Tuesday, December 7 at 8:30 p. m. in the auditorium of Albany High school.

American audiences have from time to time been introduced to the Chinese theater in one form or another. Sometimes there have been Chinese actors speaking in Chinese, a strange hodge-podge of sounds to the American ear, or American actors attempting to imitate the age-old conventions and
gestures of the Chinese drama.

The Red Gate Players bring a performance which is unique in that they hae [sic] chosen the “Highlights of the Chinese Theater” and present a thrilling performance of Chinese dance, music, and shadow plays. The cast is composed of both Chinese and Americans, each one well versed and trained in his part of the performance.

King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer, who danced in “The Good Earth,” acts as mistress of ceremonies and announces the program in perfect English. She has also selected certain Chinese dance numbers, that have long been popular with theatre-goers of the Celestial Kingdom. In her repertoire, she appears at one time as a delicate maiden, who sways like a graceful willow in a “Chinese Scroll,” and again as a young warrior in the quick virile movements of the sword dances.

The musical background for the entire performance is played behind the scenes on rare and beautiful Chniese [sic] instruments. The audience is given an opportunity to see them, however, when some of the players step in front of the curtain to play.

Albany Times-Union
(New York)
November 17, 1937
University Women Meet Next Monday to Witness Play, “Ladies of the Jury”
The Albany branch of the American Association of University Women will have
a meeting next Monday at 8 p. m. at the State College Lounge.

… Miss Katherine Shelley, chairman of the fellowship committee, announces that on December 7, the branch will present for the benefit of the fellowship fund, the Red Gate Players in high lights of Chinese, theatre arts, a performance of dance, music, and shadow plays. They will feature King Lan Chew, the Chinese concert dancer, who danced in “The Good Earth”. The plays will be given in the Albany High School Auditorium at 8:30 p.m.

Albany Times-Union
(New York)
November 30, 1937
Association to Entertain
King Lan Chew, said to be the only Chinese concert dancer in this country will appear with the Red Gate Players, at the auditorium of the Albany High school December 7th at 8:30 p. m. The production of Chinese theatre art and music is being brought to the city by the Albany branch of the American Association of University Women. The proceeds will be for the scholarship fund of the association.

The Chinese plays are divided into two groups; military and civil. In the military plays, there are lively spear and sword battles in which the forces of gods, demons, and dragons come to the aid of human warriors. While many of the plays of this type are historical, most of them are symbolic of the struggle between good and evil, the good forces are always being victorious. In the civil plays, there are romances. There are scenes depicting the colorful life of a Peking street; processions, street vendors with their strange street cries, and the jugglers, acrobats, and lion dancers which make their appearance at festival times.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
(Virginia)
November 3, 1937
Chinese Girl Last Word in Modernity
Miss “Last Orchid” is the last word in modernity. Her name, which is so flowerlike translated into English, is in Chinese, King Lan Chew. She is a concert dancer, and she danced for the Council of Jewish Women yesterday evening at Temple Beth Ahabah, appearing with the Red Gate Shadow Players.

To watch Miss Chew in her flowing robes and head-dress, as she moves through a traditional Chinese dance, her hands fluttering like butterflies, you would think that here is the Chinese girl of the legends, the delicate creature who is so much a part of China’s past. Talk to her, and you’ll find an alert, up-to-the-minute college graduate. Miss Chew isn’t a Chinese girl of the past; she belongs to the present days.

Miss Chew was born in California. Her parents came from the Canton province, but she has never been in China, though she speaks Cantonese. She is a graduate of Mills College in California.

She really prefers modern dances to those of the Orient. “Modern dancing gives you so much more freedom,” she said in her perfect English. “Some of the movements in modern dancing have been taken from the Orient—the movement of the torso, and the deep lies, the step in which you bend your knees. But some things about Oriental dancing, the movements of the hands for instance, have become so stylized that there is more freedom for expression in the modern dances.”

“But I love the Oriental dances,” she hastened to add, “for their beauty and the stories they tell.”

Miss Chew spoke of Madame Chiang Kai-Chek [sic], wife of China’s generalissimo, who figures so prominently in Chinese public life. Madame Chiang Kai-Chek is herself a Wellesley girl.

“The Chinese have a saying,” she smiled, “that goes, ‘Man is made of clay, but woman is made of water, and water permeates and moulds clay.’ Women have always been powerful in China. Even before the republic, there were women who were the real rulers of China. Oh, they pretended to be soft and yielding, but they were the rulers just the same. Men have always done things because some woman willed them to do it.”

Miss Chew went after her dancing career with all the determination of a compatriot of these clever women she spoke of. “I was always eager to go on the stage,” she said, “but my family wouldn’t heat of it. Dancing, or anything connected with the stage, was something that girls of nice Chinese families just didn’t do. They let me study music, because that was a parlor accomplishment. But I insisted on dancing, and I kept studying, so they finally saw it was useless to protest any longer.”

Miss Chew planned to visit China this summer, but the outbreak of the Chinese-Japanese war kept her away. “I should like to visit China, to study,” she said. “I wouldn’t like to live there. I don’t think that any one who has lived in America could be comfortable in China.

“But the women there are very up-to-date; possibly more modern that here in America,” she declared. And watching Miss Chew’s pretty Oriental face, and listening to her snappy, American conversation, you could well believe it.

Shadow Plays and How to Produce Them
Winifred Harrington Mills, ‎Louise M. Dunn
Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1938
The latest member of the company is King Lan Chew, a Chinese dancer who as mistress of ceremonies introduces the plays to the American audience, making any part, that might seem strange and unfamiliar, comprehensible to them.

Sacramento Bee
(California)
January 15, 1938
















Chinese Concert Dancer

King Lan Chew, lovely young Chinese dancer, will be presented as the guest artist at the breakfast luncheon of the Allied Arts Breakfast Club on Monday, January 24th, in the Empire Room of the Hotel Senator.

The affair will begin at 12:45 o’clock with Mrs. George B. Sanford, president, presiding.

In addition to the appearance of King Lan Chew the program will include a group of numbers by two popular Sacramento musicians, Dr. Ralph E. Neall, soloist, and Mrs. Edward Pease, accompanist.

According to those who have waxed enthusiastic over the talents of the Chinese artist, Miss Chew combines the culture and refinement of the Orient with the western point of view in the matters of technique and presentation. She is estimated as one of the outstanding dancers of modern times.

Numbers announced for Miss Chew’s Sacramento appearance include: Chinese Theatrical Piece with traditional melodies, respectively; Turkish Street Dance to native melody; Gold Sarabande (Debussy); religious suite, Abegnation, Supplication and Benediction, to accompaniments by Ornstein, Yamada and Scriabine, respectively; Contre Tanze (Beethoven), dances from India, In the Temple (Holoy-Gregor) and Bazar Nautch (Strickland); Chinese double sword dance with percussion accompaniment.

Lewiston Tribune
(Idaho)
January 23, 1938
Society and Clubs
On February 25, King Lan Chew, famous Chinese dancer, will be presented. King Lan Chew, an American university graduate, has gained popularity on Broadway as an artist in the interpretation of Japanese, Burmese and Chinese dances, in which are worn elaborate and richly beautiful costumes.

Lewiston Tribune
(Idaho)
February 6, 1938
Television and Dances Offered at the Normal
The lyceum committee of the Lewiston normal yesterday announced two entertainments for February, the first at 10 a.m. Feb. 15, when a demonstration of television will be featured. Th company carries models of sending and receiving sets.

On the evening of Feb. 25 the committee will present King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer, one of the outstanding numbers of the course, Prof. George Neupert said.

“Miss Chew is the essence of grace and charm and possesses an interesting personality,” Prof. Neuprt said. Her dances are both modern and oriental

Fresno Bee
(California)
February 13, 1938
Chinese Dancer Will Give Parlor Lecture Program
King Lan Chew, dancer born in San Francisco of Chinese parents, will present the special program arranged for the 2 o’clock meeting of the Parlor Lecture Club on Thursday afternoon.

The dancer, whose name translated means The Last Orchid, has just returned from the East, where she was a member of the Red Gate Shadow Players.

The daughter of Ng Poon Chew, founder of the first Chinese newspaper in the United States, the dancer was graduated from Mills College, where she majored in music. After her graduation she studied dancing with Stuart, Biggerstaff, Kreutzberg, Ito and Chow Kai Ming.

Her programs are not limited to dances mirroring only the traditions of her native land, but include those of Java, Turkey, Japan, Burma and India. Modern dances presented by the artist are set to the music of Gershwin, Ornstein, Scriabin and others.

The artist will be presented by Mrs. William L. Potts, chairman of the day.

Fresno Bee
(California)
February 16, 1938




















Dancer
King Lan Chew, Oriental dancer, who will be seen in a dance recital tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Parlor Lecture Club meeting.

Lewiston Tribune
(Idaho)
February 20, 1938
King Lan Chew, Chinese Dancer, Be Here Friday
King Lan Chew, whose name means “Last orchid” and who is heralded as the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will be featured at the Lewiston normal auditorium Friday evening, Feb. 25, under the auspices of the normal school lyceum committee made up of Chairman Bill Wetherbee, Dan Quinlan, Dexter Herren, Dorothy Peebles and Wilma Brutzman.

Miss Chew, who was honored by being chosen to portray the Chinese sword dance in the recent production of the picture “The Good Earth,” brings to American audiences a new form of the dance,” said Mr. Wetherbee yesterday. “Critics declare that within her burns that inner fire that denotes the true artist, and she seems a colorful etching come to life. The expressiveness of her tiny hands and wrists has proven a delight to admirers of artistic performances. A pupil of Chow Kai Ming, Ito, Kkreutzberg, Hanya Holm, King Lan combines the culture and refinement of the orient with the western point of view in the matters of technique and presentation. The result is not one of mere imitation. Every dance, whether oriental or modern, burns with an inner conviction of authority. It is small wonder that King Lan is being hailed as one of the outstanding dancers of modern times. Her success has carried her from coast to coast. From Broadway, where she as featured with Lucienne Boyer in her famous ‘Continental Varieties’ to the most austere concert halls where she shares the series with such famous attractions as the Monte Carlo ballet, Kreisler, the Don Cossack chorus, Nelson Eddy and others.

“Daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, famous lecturer on racial amity and founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in America, King Lan is a college graduate with an M.A. degree, an accomplished pianist and a recognized authority on costumes and culture of the far east. Her rare beauty, charming manner and vivid personality have made her evey appearance enthusiastically received. Her authentic and glamorous costumes, combined with the enchanting traditional melodies and rhythms used to accompany her dances, hold one entranced in a beauty and atmosphere unknown to America until the advent of King Lan Chew.”













Lewiston Tribune
(Idaho)
February 26, 1938
King Lan Chew, Chinese Girl, Is Poetry in Motion as She Thrills Spectators with Dancing
Terpsichore must have left a special legacy for pretty little King Lan Chew (if Greek muses ever left legacies for little Chinese girls) for this dainty dancer seems to have been given an especial gift for her chosen art. Maybe there is a Chinese god who has looked after little Chinese dancers; I forgot to ask Miss Chew, but whatever happened among all the dispensers of beauty, grace, poise, artistry, brains and sweetness, on her birthday Kin Lan Chew [sic] was the percipient of a generous bestowal of each.

For not only is she a dancer of grace and loveliness but Miss Chew holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Mills college, the former in music, and the latter in sociology; and furthermore she creates her own dances, and her own costumes with a fine artistic instinct and insight into human nature.

Each of her dances is the result of at least two years of thought, and deep research, Miss Chew told me last night after her performance given at the normal auditorium, sponsored by the lyceum committee. She will not put into execution her inspirations until she has given them time enough to prove their value to her. Then she is ready to give them in her dance. Those inspirations and ideas which recur and persist with her during their years of probation are the ones she accepts. All others she discards as not worth while.

Combines All Art

Authors and poets express themselves in words, the painter sues his brush and colors, musicians in melodic compositions. The dancer tells a story, paints a picture, and sings a song with lithe, graceful motions of limbs, body, and for the oriental, the head.

Miss Chew dances with her eyes, her pretty, expressive mouth, her tongue, even! She uses her head most effectively, as emphatic punctuation, or in the expression of various emotions.

The dancer’s hands are a fascination as they flutter and dart with bird-like grace and daintiness. Her feet, which are sometimes bare, are equally expressive. Her choice of gold sandals of oriental line, and of turquoise slippers completed several of her costumes.

Miss Chew has shown a flair for costume design quite on a par with any one of our noted artists. She prefers to create her own costumes, for they are each an integral part of the dance, and she feels that only she can interpret her ideas. This she has done with rich brocades, soft silks, and exquisite color combinations to a consummate degree.Each of her costumes was a veritable poem, and she, as she wore them and danced, was a picture of rare loneliness in every fleeting posture.

Miss Chew is an unusually brilliant girl, one gathers as one converses with her, and this impression is enthusiastically verified by her companion and able accompanist, Kathryn Woolf. She is a tireless worker, has a prodigious and racial capacity for endurance, and concentration, and she is so capable and intelligent a musician that she is a joy to work with.

Program Speaks Volumes

Miss Chew’s program of dances speak volumes. Each move so gracefully poised is an expression of thought, but the artist does not place explanatory foot notes for the audience’s interpretation of her motifs. She prefers that they translate for themselves her message. thus does the true artist create.

Her co-workers are astounded at the little dancer’s capacity for hard work, and at her abstinence of food during the entire day of her performance. She rehearses for hours, after arising early in the morning, and, with only a glass of orange juice to sustain her, she works diligently through the day of experiments with spot lights, unpacking and pressing each precious and gorgeous costume, and attending to the countless details of a concert artist, which includes generously giving her autograph to hordes of admirers. And even a little Chinese girl has a long name when it is written in her native characters. i was interested to learn that a Chinese surname comes first in the signature.

Miss Chew has spent the past year on the Atlantic coast touring as far north as Nova Scotia, and seeing much beautiful country, which she considers a happy by-product of her art. She is now busy with engagements in the west, going from here to Ellensburg. Next summer she will go to New York to study again with Tanya Holm [sic], preferring this hard work during the warm months when the muscles are more flexible.
But in any month anywhere, King Lan Chew is the epitome of exquisite grace.

Lewiston Tribune
(Idaho)
February 27, 1938
King Lan Chew, concert dancer brought to Lewiston by the normal school lyceum committee, found the Lewiston audience an unusually appreciative one, and states that she will never forget them.

Her Lewiston audience found the little artist’s performance one quite easily enjoyed, and gave her prolonged encores. Her interpretation of Gershwin’s “Phantasm” was particularly well liked, and she was called to repeat her “Contra Tanse,” a delicious bit of clowning, and vivid pantomime. In this, her gay peasant costume and head kerchief were attractive enhancements of her flashing smile and merry, mischievous eyes.

A decided contrast to this clever comedy of the dance was the Religious Suite in which she depicted abnegation, supplication, and benediction with a soulful reverence and beauty of great sincerity and mystic loveliness. In this group she was in a white satin robe, long, full and of rippling grace supplementing every move. The lighting effect was most effective.

Her Burmese dance, done to native music, was a charming bit of artistry, her costume for this one interesting and picturesque enough to capture the fancy of any feminine eye.

Miss Chew says all audiences do not choose the same dance for their preference, and this makes her program of more varied interest to her.

In her poses at the beginning and end of each dance, she shows a fine sense of the artistic and dramatic but never exaggerated effect. Simple dignity is her natural attitude, and never is one of her dances anything but dignified and beautiful.

News Tribune
(Tacoma, Washington)
March 4, 1938
Social Calendar
Saturday Morning and Afternoon
A.A.U.W. presenting King Lan Chew, Y.W.C.A.

Tacoma Sunday Ledger-News
(Washington)
March 6, 1938
‘World Dance Tour’ Enjoyed by A.A.U.W.
King Lan Chew, Chinese Concert Dancer, Charms Tacoma Audience with Versatile Performance
A dancing tour of the world was presented by King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer, before the year’s largest audience of Tacoma American Association of University Women members Saturday afternoon at the branch meeting in Weyerhaeuser hall.

Miss Chew’s versatility was shown in the wide range of her subjects from the humility of a religious suite to the whirling grace of a nautch dance.

Her hands alone, with their mobile grace and deftness, were expressive enough to delight the observers, even without her mastery of movement, rich, colorful costumes and the augmenting accompaniment by Kathryn Woolf at the piano, flute and percussion instruments for the various dances.

Move Dance Presented

Especially interesting were the traditional Chinese dances, a theatrical piece, which was marked by the formalized gestured of the Orient, and the Sheung Gim, a 2,000-year-old sword dance, performed by Miss Chew in the motion picture, “The Good Earth.”

A double contrast was presented in her dances, “Figurines” and the “Gold Sarabande,” which was part of her occidental group. Clicking bracelets set the tempo for the Burmese figurine dance with its light-hearted motion as opposed to the self-possession and gravity of the Chinese figurine. The sarabande, in which her dress color added the “gold” to the title, expressed similar gravity through the stately measures adapted from the Moors.

Comic Gifts Shown

Miss Chew’s gifts as a comedienne were displayed  in the “Contra Tanze,” a peasant dance filled with delightful humor. Also in the group was “Phantasm”, a dramatization of terror, danced to Gershwin music. The program was completed with “turkish Street Scene.” …

The Coast
May 1938
Caroline Chew, Chinese dancer formerly of San Francisco, has been offered a scholarship by Hanya Holm.

Springfield Union and Republican
(Massachusetts)
May 1, 1938
Oriental Shadow Play on Program
The George Waller Vincent Smith Art gallery is presenting the Red Gate players in an unusual, oriental program of dance, music and shadow plays, Thursday evening the 5th at 8:15. The program is planned for Museum members and will be shown in the auditorium of the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts.

The shadow play is an ancient art of China dating back as far as 121 B.C. for many centuries it has been the entertainment of court ladies, officials and emperors and is a popular entertainment in China today. The shadow actors are carved by hand from thin layers of donkey-skin parchment and colored with transparent dyes by Chinese artists. These figures, which represent famous characters, move behind a brilliantly illuminated screen with life-like illusions. Ancient Chinese legends are presented first and these in turn are interpreted by King Lan Chew, the dancer, who acts as mistress of ceremonies.

Music arranged by William Russell accompanies the entire program. He has made a study of Chinese music and instruments and the program includes conventional as well as folk tunes. A two-stringed violin, moon-guitar, tinkling “yang-chin” and gongs, all played by Mr. Russell, make up the entire orchestra. The program is one of the final season events this season.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
May 6, 1938
Rare Treat Awaits Patrons of Garden Party for Chinese.
Patrons of the garden party at Twin Oaks Saturday afternoon, May 14 from 3 to 6 o’clock which is sponsored by the Chinese Women’s Association for the benefit, of the war relief fund, will have a rare treat in the various features which are scheduled. This will be the fourth affair which this organization has under taken since its formation last August.

Miss Caroline King Lan Chew, famous dancer in the picture version of “The Good Earth” will repeat the sword dance which she gave in the picture and also will dance several modern and ancient dances of her native land. This will be her first appearance in Washington, although she had given dance recitals in other cities in the East after being in Hollywood for some time.

A Chinese orchestra, composed of local musicians, will play Celestial music on their native instruments. They will use the flute, moon harp and banjo, with drums, cymbals and gongs.

Refreshments will be served on the lawn under the giant oak trees, which are ancient landmarks of this famous estate, and the guests at the party will have an opportunity to admire the peony and rose gardens which will be at the peak of their beauty in another week. Prof. Pango of the Bamboo Gardens will be on hand to read the future for those interested and there will be many special features for the entertainment of the children including a surprise tree and a lion dance.

Miss Yoeh Wang, daughter of the Chinese Ambassador, is president of the association and will receive the guests attending the garden party. She will be assisted by Mrs. Ing, wife of the Counselor of the Embassy, and Mrs. P. Y Ho. wife of the First Secretary.

Mrs. O. W. Wy is chairman for the garden party, assisted by Mrs. Yung Kawi, wife of the former Counselor of the Embassy, who is in charge of the tea table; Mrs Leonard Hsu, punch table; Mrs. William Mayer, sale of Chinese articles; Mrs. E. T. Ing, tickets, and Mrs. J. Y. Yee, program.

Tickets for the party may be had from the office of the Embassy at 2001 Nineteenth street.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
May 13, 1938
Benefit for China Refugees
‘Lion’ Dance Among Features Slated Tomorrow.
Ten young women from the Chinese Women’s Association of New York will dance the “lion” dance at the garden fete tomorrow from 3 to 6 o’clock at Twin Oaks, on Woodley road N.W., for the benefit of the Chinese refugees. According to the legend, the sleeping lion typifies the inertia of China and the lion in the dance tomorrow will be roused from his slumbers by firecrackers and other means to rise in
his might.

Dancing promises to be quite a feature of the fete, which is sponsored by the Chinese Women’s Association of Washington. Miss King Lan Chew, who danced the sword dance in the picture version of “The Good Earth,” will give that dance and to add a somewhat more occidental note Mme. Basil de Tontorsky will give some Russian dances.

Among the many other features and entertainments will be a talk on Chinese drama by George Kin Leung, a recognized authority on the subject. Mr. Leung has been lecturing in this country and has appeared at Yale, Cornell, Rockefeller Center, the Buffalo Museum of Science and the Fullerton Hall in Chicago. He is friend of the Chinese actor, Mei Lan Fang.

Two members of the Embassy staff will sing a duet, and a Chinese orchestra will play native music.

Miss Yoeh Wang, daughter of the Chinese Ambassador and president of the association, will receive the guests. She will be assisted by Mrs. Yung Kawi, wife of the former Counselor of the Embassy, in charge of the tea table; Mrs. Leonard Hsu, in charge of the punch table; Mrs. William Mayer, in charge of the sale of Chinese articles; Mrs. E. T. Ing, tickets and Mrs. J. Y. Yee, program.

Tickets for the party are on sale at the office of the Embassy, 2001 Nineteenth street N.W.

Among those who have purchased tickets are Mrs. Gilbert Grosvenor, Mrs. Eugene Meyer, Dr. and Mrs. W. W. Willoughby, Mrs. Edward Meigs, Mrs. Bruce Barton, Mrs. Edward Meigs, Mrs. William P. Eno, Coleman Jennings, Mrs. Stewart Fuller, Mrs.
Anne Archbold, Mrs. Ernest Draper, Mrs. Mason Gulick, Mrs. Robert Swope, Mrs. Clarence Hancock and Dr. and Mrs. Camp Stanley.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, MARRIAGE LICENSE INDEX
Marriage License Date: May 23, 1938
Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York
Spouse: Lee Ruttle

San Francisco Chronicle

(California)
June 15, 1938

















‘Last Orchid’ of Chinatown Marries in N.Y.
In Chinatown yesterday they learned that the Last Orchid, Ng Poon Chew’s dancing daughter, is married.

Word was received from New York that the Chinese dancer, daughter of the late editor of the Chinese American daily, had broken the axiom that East and West may not meet and had married occidental Lee Ruttle.

Caroline Chew, whose Chinese name means “Last Orchid,” used to dance the devil chasers dance in ceremonies on the streets of Chinatown.

When she grew up age gained fame after her debut at New York’s Town Hall.

On May 28, she married Ruttle with whom she has been associated since he was here last year with the Red Gate Shadow Players, a group doing Chinese shadow plays.

Her mother, widow of Mg Poon Chew, lives at 3765 Shafter avenue, Oakland. Three sister live in the Bay district.

Sacramento Bee
(California)
June 18, 1938
Caroline Chew, San Francisco born Chinese dancer, danced her way into the hearts of hundreds of Sacramentans who saw her in recital here this Spring before the Allied Arts Breakfast Club. Press reports this week tell of her marriage to youthful white New York theatrical manager, Lee Ruttle. The bride’s sisters who reside in San Francisco are quoted as saying: “We are happy for Caroline. We do not share with our ancestors the belief that it is wrong to marry into another race. Father would deeply approve.” Mrs. Ruttle’s father, the late Dr. Ng Poon Chew, gave up his pastorate of the Chinese Presbyterian Church in the San Francisco Chinatown to found the Chinese daily newspaper, Chung Sai Yat Po, reputed to be the most influential and oldest Chinese daily in America. Mrs. Ruttle is a graduate from Mills College. She was acclaimed by critics throughout the East for her Oriental and Occidental dances.

Fredonia Censor
(New York)
October 14, 1938
Chinese Dancing, Plays Program to Be Given at Normal on Tuesday
The public is invited to attend the Normal School assembly program, next Tuesday morning. The program will be devoted to Chinese Shadow plays, and dancing by King Lan Chew, the only Chinese concert dancer in America. Chinese music will also accompany the presentations.

Rochester Times-Union
(New York)
November 5, 1938
Ancient Oriental themes interpreted in the shadow play and the dance will come to Cutler Nov. 30, as part of the lecture scries of the University. King Lan Chew is the featured artist.

Known as the Red Gate Players, the troop will present highlights of Chinese theater art with the shadow play an integral part of the performance. It is presented with a series of colored transparent, and animated figures from behind the translucent and brilliantly illumined screen.

Miss Dorothy Brandhorst is in charge of arrangements assisted by Mrs. Frederick A. Hovde, Anne E. Schumacher, Phillip Carey, Miss Ruth A. Merrill, Miss Elizabeth Thulin, Dr. J. Edward Hoffmeister, Armin N. Bender, Robert Ward, Robert Larsen and Mrs. Wilbur Dingwell.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
(Virginia)
November 15, 1938




















Chinese Girl Will Dance for Club
King Lan Chew, the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will appear with the Red Gate Players tomorrow night at the Ginter Park Woman’s Club. She will dance and act as mistress of ceremonies.

Translated, King Lan Chew’s name means Last Orchid. A pupil of Chow Kai Ming, Kruezberg and Hanya Holm, she combines the culture and refinement of the Orient with the Western point of view in the matters of technique and presentation. Her success has carried her from coast to coast; from Broadway, where she was featured with Lucienne Boyer in her “continental Varieties,” to Hollywood as the exotic dancer in the tea house scene in “The Good Earth.”

She is the daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, famous lecturer on racial amity and founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in America. King Lan Chew is a college graduate with an M.A. degree, an accomplished musician and a recognized authority on costumes and culture of the Far East.

The numbers which Miss Chew will present will include a “Sword Dance,” which is symbolical of Prince Li’s killing the dragon and is also the dance performed by her in “The Good Earth,” “A Chinese Scroll” and the vigorous “Chinese Theatrical Piece.” …

Springport Signal
(Michigan)
November 17, 1938
Tours and Detours
Caroline Chew, the last orchid of San Francisco’s Chinatown, has cast aside restrictions of family and ignored the philosophy of 5,000 years. She is a famed dancer and recently married Lee Ruttle, American manager of her troupe. Her father was the noted Ng Poon Chew, a scholar and philosopher.

Rochester Times-Union
(New York)
November 25, 1938
Chinese Troupe Features Dancer
Featured dancer in the movie, “The Good Earth,” and in Broadway’s “Continental Varieties,” King Lan Chew will be mistress of ceremonies Wednesday night for the Chinese Red Gate Players at Cutler Union, Prince Street Campus.

She will do her famous Sword Dance here. Ancient Chinese shadow plays will be given by the Red Gate Players.

Rochester Times-Union
(New York)
December 1, 1938
Chinese Odd Plays Entertain
A series of delicately lovely Chinese prints, animated much in the manner marionette shows are—that was “The White Snake” as presented by the Red Gate Players and applauded by an audience of several hundred here last night.

Based on a Chinese legend of a “demon” who comes to earth as a beautiful young girl, the shadow play was performed in color against oblong screens on the stage of Cutler Union, University of Rochester Prince Street Campus.

To an American audience the fragile parchment figures manipulated on wires from below the stage appeared at first more fantastic than a Silly Symphony cartoon, particularly as the dialogue treated the subject seriously in stilted Chinese fashion.

Gradually, however, a real suspense was built up in melodramatic .scenes where the serpent, “defender of the faith,” prevents the “demon” from entering the temple and where the “demon” is changed, into a white snake to be imprisoned in a pagoda.

King Lan Chew, who as mistress of ceremonies introduced the play, donned three exoticly beautiful costumes for the traditional dances she performed later, concluding with the Sword Dance in which she appeared in the motion picture, “The Good Earth.” Miss Chew, lovely as well as graceful, could have entertained last night’s audience much longer than she did.

You Can’t Eat That!: A manual and recipe book for those who suffer either acutely or mildly (and perhaps unconsciously) from food allergy
Helen Morgan
Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1939
The author also acknowledges with deep gratitude the assistance of Caroline Ruttle in working out the recipes for baked foods. Mrs. Ruttle, who is King Lan Chew, noted Chinese dancer, is equally the artist on the stage and in the kitchen; her skill in baking, coupled with her knowledge of Oriental dishes, was of inestimable value. …

King Lan Chew, who made up this recipe, thinks gingerbread ought to taste of ginger, and we’re sure you’ll agree with her after trying this. It has an unmistakable, delightful zip to set it apart from ordinary gingerbread tha’s often so insipid.

Daily Argus
(Mount Vernon, New York)
January 13, 1939




















Club Open Day Is to Feature Chinese Dancer
King Lan Chew, Youthful Artist. Will Appear on Wednesday
King Lan Chew, lovely young Chinese dancer, will be presented as guest artist at Open Day, Wednesday at the Westchester Woman’s Club.

The young woman, whose name translated into English, means Last Orchid, is said to combine the culture and refinement of the Orient with the western point of view in matters of technique and presentation.

Daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, lecturer on racial amity, and founder of the first Chinese daily paper in America, King Lan Chew has studied dancing with Chow Kai Ming, Ito and Hanya Holm. She is a college graduate with an M. A. degree, an accomplished pianist, and a recognized authority on costumes and culture of the Far East.

She has appeared as featured performer with Lucienne Boyer in “Continental Varieties,” and on the concert stage, has shared the series with such artists as Kreisler, the Monte Carlo Ballet, and the Don Cossack Chorus.

The program will take place in the club auditorium at 2:15 o’clock.

Daily Argus
(Mount Vernon, New York)
January 14, 1939
Civics Luncheon, Open Day Slated at Woman’s Club
… Mrs. Robert M. Rogers is chairman of the Open Day program, which will feature King Lan Chew, dancer, at 2:15 o’clock in club auditorium. Mrs. Oliver W. N. Charlton will be tea hostess for the afternoon, assisted by her committee.

Daily Argus
(Mount Vernon, New York)
January 19, 1939
Chinese Dancer Charms Woman’s Club Audience
Colorful, Graphic Presentation Given by Miss King Lan Chew
A diminutive figure in the colorful costumes of the East personified the charm and mystery of the Orient yesterday at the Westchester Woman’s Club.

In a series of vivid dances remarkable for their variety and graphic presentation, King Lan Chew, graceful young Chinese dancer of American birth, and the only Chinese solo dancer in America, appeared on the Open Day program of the club.

Throbbing native music and lighting effects that enhanced the Oriental atmosphere, served as the setting for Miss Chew’s choreography. The program opened with a tableau motif in which the dancer portrayed Fillipino, Chinese and Burmese figurines, later performing characteristic dances to the music of those countries.

Her nest offering, for which she wore a heavily brocaded robe of gold, was “Gold Sarabande,” danced to Debussy’s music. There followed “Religious Suite,” in which she portrayed the moods of abnegation (Ornstein), supplication (Yamada) and benediction (Beethoven), dressed in a striking white satin costume with long flowing sleeves.

Beethoven also was composer of the music for the πContra Tanze,” Miss Chew’s next offering. Other number included “Turkish Street Dance” (Strickland) and “Sheung Gim.” danced to percussion instruments.

A traditional sword dance, performed [by] Miss Chew in the motion picture, “The Good Earth,” brought the program to a close. The fiery toned hue of her costume, combined with the flashing of the great silver swords which she brandished with such telling effect to the weird throbbing of the percussion instruments, made a dramatic finale for program.

Mrs. Robert M. Rogers, program chairman who presented the dancer and her accompanist, Morris Ma [illegible] orsky, related interesting sidelights on Miss Chew’s career as she announced the various numbers. According to Mrs. Rogers, the young dancer was born in San Francisco of Cantonese parents and has never been in China despite the fact that she is so expert an interpreter of the dances of her ancestral country.

It was also divulged that Miss Chew is a bride of seven months, the wife of Lee Ruttle, an American fellow in the advertising business, and the former producer of Chinese shadow plays. Mr. Ruttle is an important offstage figure, assisting his wife into the elaborate costumes which she designed and made herself. Miss Chew appeared in 50 benefit performances last year and continue to perform as frequently as possible this year in order to aid her Chinese compatriots.

The dancer and her husband were entertained at a luncheon in the clubhouse grill before the afternoon program by Mrs. Rogers, Mrs. Charles H. Ficke, president of the Westchester Woman’s Club and Mrs. W. L. Bowman.

Tea was served in the large assembly room of the clubhouse after the performance, which was opened with a word of greeting by Mrs. Ficke. Presiding at the tea table, which was decorated with a centerpiece of iris, jonquils and other spring flowers flanked on either side by triple yellow tapers In crystal holders, were Mrs. N. R. Lasher, Mrs. Fenn B. Newell, Mrs. E Kunkle and Miss Helen Kenyon. Mrs. Edward Mullen was hostess of day; Mrs. John Kevan is chairman of the hospitality committee.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
January 22, 1939
Future Meetings of Women’s Cubs Announced
Chinese Women’s Association. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 p.m., dance recital, Y.W.C.A. Dancer, King Lan Chew, Entertainment secretary, Mrs. V.K. Kwong, 2001 Nineteenth street N.W.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
January 25, 1939
Chinese Concert Dancer to Present Recital
A dance recital by King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer, will be given at 8:30 p.m. February 3 and 4, at the Y. W. C. A., under the auspices of the Chinese Women’s Association. Proceeds will be for relief work in China.

King Lan Chew, who was born in San Francisco, is the daughter of the late Dr. Ng Poon Chew, lecturer and founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in the United States. Educated in America, she received degrees in music and in social economy, but eventually began to study dance, unknown to her family. Her parents had objected to her ambition to become a dancer, but relented after they attended her first recital in San Francisco.

Tickets for her recital may be purchased from the secretary of the Chinese Women’s Association, Mrs. V. K. Kwong, 2001 Nineteenth street N.W., or Mrs. Choy G. Wy, the chairman.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
January 29, 1939
advertisement
Chinese Women’s Unit Planning Dance Benefit
The Chinese Women’s Association is arranging a benefit for their work in China and King Lan Chew, charming young Chinese dancer, will appear Friday and Saturday evenings in Barker Hall of the Y. W. C. A. She will give a series of dances each evening at 8:30 o’clock, and the tickets are on sale at the Mayflower Hotel. Mrs. V. K. Kwong, at the Chinese Embassy, is secretary
of the association.

Mrs. Roosevelt heads the list of patronesses for the two appearances of this unusual dancer, who is the daughter of the late Dr. Ng Poon Chew, famous lecturer on racial amity and founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in the United States. ...

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
January 31, 1939
advertisement


Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
February 1, 1939
Chinese Dancer to Appear Here
King Lan Chew, noted Chinese concert dancer, will be presented in recital Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30 o’clock at Barker Hall, Seventeenth and K streets N.W.

The program is under the auspices of the Chinese Women’s Association of Washington and is a benefit for Chinese relief.

Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
February 2, 1939
advertisement


Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
February 3, 1939
advertisement


Oakland Tribune
(California)
April 27, 1939
Rites for Chinese Woman Leader Set
Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Mrs. Ng Poon Chew, 65, leader in the Oakland Chinese colony and active in welfare and missionary work, who died Tuesday at a local hospital.

Born in Canton, Mrs. Chew came here as a girl and was educated in the United States. She was, for 10 years, president of the San Francisco Chinese Y.W.C.A., serving until her retirement because of ill health a few years ago.

Her husband, Ng Poon Chew, published the first daily Chinese language newspaper outside China, and was the first Chinese to become a member of the Shriners. He died in 1931. Mrs. Chew also was active in the King’s Daughters.

She is survived by four daughters, Nansie, Effie and Rose Chew, and Mrs. Carolyn Ruttle, and a son, Edward Chew.

Services will be held at 10 a.m., tomorrow, from the First Presbyterian Church, with Dr. Marshall Davis officiating.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
December 14, 1939
Javanese Dancers Honored at Luncheon
The Balinese and Javanese dancers, with their star Devi Dja, who have opened a four-day run at the Geary Theater, were given a Chinese luncheon yesterday afternoon at the Fong Inn.

King Lan Chew (Caroline Chew Ruttle), well-known San Francisco Chinese dancer, gave the luncheon in honor of Miss Dja and her company.

1940 UNITED STATES FEDERAL CENSUS
3765 Shafter Avenue, Oakland, California
Household Members
Name / Age / Occupation
Rose Chew, 43, social worker
Effie Chew, 44, public school teacher
Mansie Chew, 45, newspaper secretary
Lee Ruttle, 31, publicity agent
Caroline Ruttle, 34, concert dancer


Cleveland Plain Dealer Women’s Magazine

(Ohio)
January 21, 1940
Museum of Art Continues Full Educational Program for Members and Public

The Cleveland Museum of Art, deeply gratified by the response to its educational and entertaiment offerings for the first half of the current yearn announces a program for the second half which should mean at least as much to Cleveland as that so recently concluded. …

Miliken Lectures First

… “Oriental and Occidental Dances” by King Lan Chew, New York; …

Museum’s Plans
The Cleveland Museum of Art announces through its curator of musical arts, Arthur W. Quimby, a series of Friday evening and Sunday afternoon musical events for the second half of the season. In addition there will be three Wednesday evening organ recitals by Quimby in May. …

… On March 29, King Lan Chew, known as the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will introduce a novelty in the series, appearing in a program that combines oriental material with numbers by composers like Gershwin and Milhaud.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
February 7, 1940

















‘Sheung Gim’; It’s Sword Dance for the Rice Bowl
Latest attraction announced for the Rice Bowl party Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Chinatown will be a series of dance recitals by King Lan Chew, better known to San Franciscans as Caroline Chew. She was one of the features of New York’s Rice Bowl party past year.

Caroline will appear each night at the Chinese Y.W.C.A. in two dances—{Chinese Scroll” and “Sheung Gim,” a sword dance as performed by her in the motion picture, “The Good Earth.” Her accompaniment will be by an orchestra of native musicians.

Miss Chew, a daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, who published the first Chinese daily newspaper in America, has not been seen on the local stage for two years. She has just completed a national concert tour after teaching and study with Hanya Hohn [sic] in New York. She is the wife of Lee Ruttle, theatrical manager and press agent.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Women’s Magazine
(Ohio)
March 24, 1940
Art Realm Notes
Friday—8:15 p.m., Oriental and Occidental dances by King Lan Chew, New York.

Stars of the Week in Music
Chinese Dancer here
San Francisco-born King Lan Chew, the only Chinese concert dancer in America, will be presented by the Cleveland Museum of Art in a dance recital at the museum Friday night at 8:15. Daughter of the late Ng Poon Chew, founder of the first Chinese daily newspaper in America, King Lan (which translates “Last Orchid”) is a college graduate, an accomplished pianist and an authority inn Oriental costumes. A pupil of Chow Kai Ming, Ito, Kreutzberg another famous dancers, she has been featured in Lucienne Boyer’s “Continental Varieties” on Broadway and has shared programs with Kreisler, Nelson Eddy and the Monte Carlo Ballet.

Her dancing is said to combine the culture and refinement of the Orient with the western point go view in matters of technique and presentation. She will present 13 numbers, among them “suite from a Chinese Theater,” “Burmese Figurine,” and “Religious Suite.” In her final selections she appears in native dress, enacting a “Turkish Street Dance,” a dance by a Nautch girl, and finally a 2000-year-old Chinese traditional dance which she performed in the cinema version of “The Good Earth.” Gladys Wilson will play the piano accompaniments.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
(Ohio)
March 30, 1940
Museum Throng Is Pleased by Dances of Chinese Girl
Oriental and Occidental dances by King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer, made up the bill of fare last night at the Museum of Art. The curiosity of the capacity audience was satisfied by a varied series of offerings that were short, sweet, dainty and to the point.

This American=born Chinese girl, whose name, we are told, spells “Last Orchid,” not only creates her own dances but designs and executes her own costumes. The latter are attractive and the dances themselves show an equal degree of taste and competence.

Tracing some of the more severe patterns of traditional material, she presented a “Suite from the Chinese Theater” and included the 2,000-year-old sword dance, “Sheung Gim,” which she preformed in the motion picture, “The Good Earth.” Especially likable on the lighter side of the Oriental picture were “Burmese Figurine” and “turkish Street Dance,” in which there was characteristic neck-wagging and other subtleties of gesture evidently congenial to eastern taste.

In her Occidental group she sis not go much outside the orbit of accepted currency among dancers today, and although she added a little personal touch here and there. In the “Country Dance” of Beethoven she seemed content to follow conventional lines, which she understands quite well and portrays with a nice sense of style, which was also evident in the “Gold Sarabande” with music by Debussy. There was attractive simplicity and dignity in her “Religious Suite” with music by Ornstein, Yamada and Scriabin.

Some of her dances were done with percussion consisting of wood block and gong. In those requiring musical accompaniment her pianist was Gladys Wilson.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
April 26, 1939
Chew—In Oakland, April 25, 1939. Mrs. Ng Poon Chew, wife of the late Ng Poon Chew, mother of Mansie, Effie, Rose and Edward Chew and Mrs. Lee Ruttle, grandmother of Edward Jr. and Wayne Chew.

Friends are invited to attend the services Friday morning, Apeil 29, at 11 o’clock, at the First Presbyterian Church, 26th and Broadway, Oakland.
(Albert Brown Co.)

Sacramento Bee
(California)
July 20, 1940
October 25th Is Chosen by Allied Arts Breakfast Club for Opening Dinner Concert
Friday, October 25th, is another date circled on the calendars of the Allied Arts Breakfast Club members, for on that date they will open their 1940–41 season with a dinner concert. Mrs. George B. Sanford, the president, has made the announcement that the program which is being planned is to be unusual and entirely different in music, light effects and costumes.

Plans have been completed by Mrs. A.C. Hart to bring to Sacramento in November the only Chinese concert dancer in America, King Lan Chew, whose name translated means Last Orchid. She brings to America a new type of dancing, as she combines the culture and refinement of the Orient with the Western point of view in matters of technique and presentation.

He authentic and glamorous costumes, combined with the enchanting traditional melodies and rhythms used to accompany her dances, hold one entranced in a beauty and atmosphere unknown to America until the advent of King Lan Chew. One newspaper critic in the East stated that she is more than a dancer; she is a musician, comedienne, poet and above all, a consummate actress. He went on to state that she was the Oriental Ruth Draper. A Western critic compared her to a colored etching come to life. …

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
July 28, 1940
Back to Bach in Carmel
Recital of Chinese and Japanese dances by King Lan Chew, Pacific House, Treasure Island, 3:30 p.m. Concerts of recorded music of the Pacific are given every week day at Pacific House at the same time.

Sacramento Bee
(California)
November 16, 1940
Allied Arts Breakfast Club Will Open Term November 25 with Chinese Concert Dancer
The concert series of the Allied Arts Breakfast Club will open auspiciously Monday noon, November 25th, in the Hotel Senator with King Lan Chew, who has been acclaimed as the foremost Chinese concert dancer in America, as the performing artist. Appearing on the program also will be Nedrick Baugh, Sacramento baritone, in a group of selections, accompanied by Mrs. Maude MacSwain. Miss Gladys Wilson will play the musical accompaniment for Miss Chew.

Miss Chew’s admirers say she presents a synthesis of choreographic art seldom seen on the American stage. She embodies the subtle delicacy of the ancient East with the vitality of the modern. Each program number is said to be chosen for its particular appeal to the dance lover, musician, artist and casual playgoer. A veritable gallery of international pictures and figurines follow in cleverly executed sequences, always returning in the end to her native dance, the Chinese. Never exhausting the source, it is said, King Lan Chew piques the imagination by a variety of themes.

Her quest for knowledge led her to study with such masters as Chow Kai King [sic], Kreutzberg, Hanya Holm. Students of the dance claim during the last five years the name of King Lan Chew has been firmly established as representative of the best in the art of the dance.

She has been greeted with packed houses and has received favor for her dances, her interpretations and her choice of program numbers.

Musicians have commented on the intelligence with which she combines her own ideas with those of the classic composers, for Miss Chew does not create her dance compositions without due regard for the musical form.

It is said that throughout the whole concert one is conscious of her talent which can accent a musical nuance with a gesture or point the phrase endings by a thought.

Her friends have said King Lan Chew today stands as one of the very greatest interpreters of Chinese and Occidental culture as expressed through the art of the dance.

Recently the Syracuse, N.Y., Post Standard carried the following comment, “King Lan Chew brought beauty to 1,800 Syracusans. Mobility and expressiveness of hands, loveliness of costume and flowing beauty of movement were the instruments she used to create her artistry. Never was her interpretation in doubt.”

Mrs. George B. Sanford, president, will preside at the november 25th meeting. She announces the executive board will meet at the close of the performance. Membership tickets are available at the Bank of America, Twelfth and K Streets.

Sacramento Bee
(California)
November 23, 1940
Chinese Dancer Is to Present Concert
The Allied Arts Breakfast Club will present King Lan Chew, noted Chinese concert dancer, in a performance here Monday following a breakfast at noon in the Hotel Senator.

Miss Chew studied the art of the dance with Chow Kai King [sic], Kreutzberg and Hanya Holm, and those familiar with her work claim she is one of the outstanding dance exponents in America today.

After Miss Chew’s concerts in Albany, N.Y., the Times-Union published the following in regard to her performance:

{An exquisite artist, King Lan Chew is more than merely a dancer. She is a musician, comedienne, post, and above all, a consummate actress. The audience was literally at the feet of this Oriental Ruth Draper.”

Mrs. George B. Sanford will preside Monday and Mrs. A.C. Hart will present the artist.

Sacramento Bee
(California)
November 26, 1940
Chinese Dancer Entertains in Recital at Meeting of the Allied Arts Breakfast Club
A large audience of the Allied Arts Breakfast Club members yesterday applauded the work of King Lan Chew, Chinese concert dancer, who appeared in the dances of many lands in the Empire Room of the Hotel Senator. For every dance the artist wore a harmonizing costume, each created by Miss Chew.

Her opening performance was a suite from the Chinese theater in which she expressed the characteristics, in turn, of a Chinese hero, a heroine and a young warrior with piano accompaniment for the second part and percussion accompaniment for the other two.

Her costume as the Chinese hero was an elaborate national garment of green and gold with patterned embellishments of jewels. The headpiece was tall and colorful with pheasant feathers some three feet long extending upward at each end.

As the heroine, her attire was simplified with light blue jacket, Chinese style, topping a delicately pink colored accordion pleated skirt. On her head she wore a close fitting jeweled Oriental bandeau.

For her illustrative dance as the warrior she appeared in a severe black satin Chinese costume with ban dings of brilliant red.

The favorite work of the afternoon was the religious suite, interpreting abnegation, supplication and benediction. The solemn religious feeling of this presentation was hightened [sic] by Miss Chew’s choice of a white satin costume fashioned in ecclesiastical style.

A novelty, both in rhythm and costuming, was the interpretation of Contre Tanze (Beethoven), given to express the carefree mood of the country folk. The voluminous skirt and sleeves of the bright yellow costume were typical while the dark green cloth tied over Miss Chew’s head also was in complete accord.

In Gold Sarabande (Debussy) the artist appeared in a French national dance, her dress being an elegant golden brocade silk creation and her head ornament a single strand of marble sized gold beads.

Her last number was a Chinese traditional double sword dance, Sheung Gim, over 2,000years old, for which she wore a simple bright red costume,

Other numbers on Miss Chew’s program included: Burmese Figurines, The Pheasant Plume Dance and Bazaar Nautch (Strickland).

An assisting artist was Miss Gladys Wilson who played Miss Chew’s accompaniments and was heard also in a group of piano selections.

Nedrick Baugh, Sacramento baritone, sang before the dance recital giving as his numbers Vienna, City of My Dreams, ’Neath the Southern Moon and Tramp, Tramp, Tramp. Mrs. Maude MacSwain was the accompanist.

Mrs. George B. Sanford, the president of the organization for the fifth consecutive term, presided yesterday and was honored by a poetic toast written by Mrs. Jeanette Lawrence who read her composition before the club. The artists were presented by Mrs. A.C. Hart, the program chairman. Mrs. Fred E. Wilkins was announced as the official pianist of the club for the year.

The decorations yesterday were frosty white streamlined versions of Yuletide adornment, embracing holiday trees, candles, and table motifs.

Sunday Herald-Leader
(Lexington, Kentucky)
October 5, 1941
Woman’s Club Announces Program for Year
Jan. 31—King Lan Chew, lovely young Chinese concert dancer, whose name translates Last orchid, brings to the American stage a new form of the dance, combining the culture and refinement of the Orient with the Western point of view in the matters of technique and presentation. She is being acclaimed as one of the outstanding dancers and is known from coast to coast.

San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
October 4, 1948
Publicist Lee Ruttle and his wife, Chinese Dancer Carolyn Chew, were celebrating their wedding all around the town Fri. Night—although actually, they’ve been married 10 years: “At last it’s legal!” they beamed, waving a newspaper announcing that California’s ban on interracial marriages has been found unconstitutional (at last) by the State Supreme Court.

The Argus
(Fremont, California)
January 6, 1976
Palomares Canyon kidnapping drama
Screeching tires and wailing sirens shattered yesterday’s peaceful sunny afternoon in rural Palomares Canyon when a kidnapped Oakland woman fled from her armed abductor, who nearly ran her down in her own car.

Mrs. Caroline Ruttle, in her early 60s, told deputies she emerged from the Wells Fargo Bank on 40th Avenue in Piedmont at about 12:10 p.m. and got into her car.

She said a young man pointed to her front tire as if it were flat and she unlocked the passenger door to talk to him. he entered her car, pulled a small chrome-plated revolver and ordered her to drive, deputies said.

After driving around Oakland for a while, he directed here to Palomares Road, where they drove south from Palo Verde Road about 2 p.m.

Deputies said the kidnapper ordered her to drive up a steep side road about five miles north of Niles Canyon Road, but she told him the car probably wouldn’t make it up the hill.

He then ordered her to pull off at the next turnout.

She stopped at mile post 4.77 and jumped from the car. Her abductor grabbed at her as she fled but she escaped his grasp. He then got into the driver’s seat and made a u-turn.

Deputies said two motorcyclists came by, and one stopped to see what the struggle was about while the other drove on. The abductor then attempted to run down Mrs. Ruttle and the motorcyclist at a high rate of speed, deputies day. They jumped out of the way, but the parked motorcycle was knocked over.

The second motorcyclist gave chase, but the car outdistanced him speeding north on Palomares Road.

“I thought he was going to roll over as he made the turn,” said Milton Garcia, 59, who was working in his yard at the corner of Palomares and Palo Verde roads when the abductor sped by, heading east toward Interstate 580.

Deputies described the car as a red 1971 Pontiac Ventura, license plate number 582 ECB.

Mrs. Ruttle’s purse was left in the car, containing $100 in cash and numerous credit cards, deputies said.

The East Bay Regional Park District helicopter participated in the search, along with Fremont, Alameda County and highway patrol squad cars.
Police checked citizen reports of a red vehicle in the Palomares Canyon area several hours after the incident, but it proved to be the wrong car.

Police are still searching for the abductor.
San Francisco Chronicle
(California)
December 5, 1986
Ruttle, Leo (Lee)—In Oakland, Dec. 3; beloved husband of Caroline Ruttle of Oakland, a native of Rhode Island; age 76; a member of The San Francisco Press Club and American Writers Guild.

No services were held at the family’s request.
Chapel of the Chimes
Mortuary-Oakland
654-0123

Lee Ruttle
Lee Ruttle, a former San Francisco advertising man who wrote the highly acclaimed novel, {The private of Dr. Yamada” died Tuesday in Peralta Hospital in Oakland after a long illness at age 76.

Mr. Ruttle combined his advertising and public relations career with a lief-long interest in the Asian community. He was active for many years as director of a Chinese puppet theater and more recently as a special correspondent for the Japanese American newspaper Pacific Citizen.

After his retirement, he became a free-lance writer. “The Private War of Dr. Yamada,” his only novel, was published in 1978. It drew on Mr. rustle’s experience in the U.S. Marine Corps in World Wa II and on the diary of a Japanese military doctor.

Mr. Ruttle, who was a native of Providence, R.I., is survived by his wife, Caroline, the daughter of the late Dr. Ng Poon Chew, a San Francisco minister and founder of the Chinese American Daily newspaper. Mrs. Ruttle was also a dancer and appeared in the classic film “The Good Earth.”

At Mr. Ruttle’s request, there will be no funeral services.

CALIFORNIA DEATH INDEX
Name: Caroline Chew Ruttle
Birth Date: November 4, 1901 [year earlier than Social Security Death Index]
Birth Place: California
Death Date: February 2, 1988
Death Place: Alameda
Mother’s Maiden Name: Fah
Father’s Surname: Chew

SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH INDEX
Name: Caroline C. Ruttle   
Last Residence: Oakland, California
Born: November 4, 1902
Died: February 2, 1988


Further Reading and Viewing

Chinese San Francisco, 1850–1943: A Trans-Pacific Community
Yong Chen
Stanford University Press, 2000
… A brief resume of Ng Poon Chew’s four daughters provides an additional index to the life of this growing group of women. The eldest sister, Jingping, a musician by profession, worked as a secretary for The Chinese-Western Daily. Yuqing, the second sister, had been a teacher in Oakland’s Lincoln School after 1918; she was reportedly the first Chinese, except for those hired as Chinese-language instructors, ever to have taught in public school.[34] The third sister, Dongmei, a college graduate, became executive secretary of San Francisco’s Chinese YWCA. Qionglan (Caroline), the youngest, had once worked for the Chinese YWCA. Also known as “Dancer Caroline Chew,” she learned to dance from American and Chinese teachers after graduating from Mills College, where she studied piano and composition.

The Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850–1920
Wendy Rouse Jorae
University of  North Carolina Press, 2009
Caroline Chew, the daughter of Ng Poon Chew, similarly attempted to dispel myths and construct an alternate image of Chinese American family life by appealing to American middle-class conceptions of domesticity. In 1926 she completed her master’s thesis at Mills College, describing the development of Chinese family life in both China and America. Chew intended to counter the images produced by writers and film producers who “have thrown a bizarre light on it, giving the general impression that it is a round of trap doors, secret passages, opium dens, and the like.” Chew insisted that Chinese American family life was just as “normal and placid” as American family life. Chew also congratulated Chinese families for their adaptability and willingness to assimilate. Still, Chew warned against a complete abandonment of Chinese customs, suggesting that Chinese families fuse their own customs with “the best in American customs.”[63] ...

Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton
Grant Hayter-Menzies
McGill-Queen’s Press, 2013
… Soo Yong, who had been hired for the supporting Chinese cast of The Good Earth, left Red Gate before it returned to the East and was replaced by the dancer King Lan Chew. Also known as Caroline Chew, the Berkeley—born performer was a daughter of Ng Poon Chew, the newspaper publisher and author who crusaded for the rights of Chinese Americans. Though Chew favoured the rights of women, his daughter Caroline had to wait until his death before pursuing a career as dancer, in her thirties, when most dancers had already hit their peak. By 1935, Chew had performed on Broadway and was making her mark as “the only Chinese woman dancer in America” — a claim that echoes Pauline’s own of being the only woman shadow master in the world. So Chew was in good company, and she was more than that for Red Gate. Not only did she perform traditional Chinese dances s “entr’actes” between acts or scenes, but she gave narrations in American English that audiences could relate to. …

Internet Broadway Database

University of Iowa
Iowa Digital Library
Caroline Chew in dance pose, 1940s
King Lan Chew: (last orchid) Chinese concert dancer
King Lan Chew: (last orchid) Chinese concert dancer


(Next post on Friday: There Goes the Neighborhood)